Octogan Gallery to present ‘All Fired Up’

Submitted Photo All the work at "All Fired Up" has been fired at Scott Creek Fire Place.

WESTFIELD — The Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY will host an exhibition entitled “All Fired Up” today, Jan. 11, from 7-9 p.m. The show presents a collection of wood fired pottery and ceramic sculpture by the Chautauqua Area Potters and some of their friends.

The Chautauqua Area Potters are a community of artists who, though dramatically different in their individual practices, share a common passion for the process of wood firing. Their show, “All Fired Up,” runs through Feb. 8. Some of the Chautauqua Area Potters will speak during the reception or over the month. Artist Lisa Eppolito is scheduled for a gallery talk Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m.

In an eloquent statement about this process, Professor John Neely of Utah State University answers the question about what it is about firing with wood that is so compelling? He says, “There is a fascination with fire and flames, the same kind of pyromaniac urge that seems somehow encoded in our DNA — the urge that leads us to peer into campfires, stir the coals, swap lies, and contemplate the nature of the universe. The communal nature of the endeavor is significant. Most wood firing, especially long wood firing, demands the cooperation of a group of people. We sometimes forget the essentially cooperative nature of our craft — how we differ from some other artistic pursuits — and wood firing tends to reinforce and re-emphasize our interdependence. There is also a fascination with the history of the medium. For most of the history of ceramics, wood, or at least plant material was the only fuel available. It was coal that fueled the industrial revolution, and coal was added to potter’s arsenal at about the same time. Petroleum technology came along by the end of the 19th century; electricity came into wide use only in the 20th century. Contemporary practitioners use all of these technologies, but investigating the history of the medium, many find resonance with the wares of medieval Japan where the integration of form and surface seems to foreshadow the Bauhaus tenet of ‘truth to materials.’ Most compelling though, is the business of visual aesthetics. All ceramic artists juggle a mind-boggling number of variables including clay composition, particle size, time, and temperature. Wood as a fuel adds a host of new variables and increases exponentially the range of results possible.”

Visit the Octagon Gallery to see this team effort of dedicated talented artists expose us to their beauty of wood fired pottery and their way of life. Please look to our website for gallery talks and exhibitions at pattersonlibrary.info.

For any interest in exhibitions please contact the curator, Nancy Ensign at curator@pattersonlib.org.