By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS - First thought: what's a used 35-millimeter camera doing at an exhibit showcasing the finest of contemporary ceramics?
Look close: the camera is clay, the replica Canon a kiln-fired ringer for the real thing, with chrome buttons and dials. The artist is Paul Dresang of Edwardsville, Ill.
Double takes at the camera and other realistic clay designs are common at a new exhibit of contemporary ceramic artists from across the United States and Canada. Such realistic objects are done in a style called "trompe l'oeil," French for "to deceive the eye."
"Clay has no real structure of its own, so it can take on the structure of anything," said Bill Hunt, a Columbus College of Art and Design professor who created the exhibit, "21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada."
The exhibit, at CCAD's Canzani Center Gallery through Dec. 7, features 506 objects by 253 artists. Hunt believes it is the largest-ever contemporary ceramic art show.
"I wanted to depict the whole scope of ceramics, so this is a representative sampling of every movement, every style, that's going on in contemporary ceramics," said Hunt, former editor of Ceramics Monthly magazine. "Most people think it's cups and plates and pitchers and functional stuff."
The exhibit has plenty of those traditional objects, including an entire wall devoted to teapots, often a stepping stone for clay artists moving from function into art.
Adrian Arleo's "Woman with Reclined Blue Child" calls to mind unearthed victims of Pompeii.
She used a chemical process generally considered a firing flaw - small white glaze beading on a surface like water on a waxed car, a phenomenon called "crawling."
The show demonstrates how far ceramics have come from traditional pottery. Some traditional potters believe they're being left behind as their craft becomes high-priced art.
Other artists say there's room for everyone, and the traditional form is still honored, because most ceramics artists had a common starting point.
On the Net
Columbus College of Art and Design: http://www.ccad.edu/
John Glick studio: http://plumtreepottery.com/
Todd Piker studio: http://cbpots.zoovy.com/
Angelica Pozo studio: http://www.angelicapozo.com/
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