Precedents: Past meets Present in Contemporary Glass and Clay

Wednesday, Feb 9 – Sep 24, 2022

441 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403

Artists gather influences from an almost endless variety of sources including cultural, social, and historical people, places, and ideas, as well as personal experiences and perspectives, and, last but not least, the work of other artists and other creatives. Whether or not an individual contemporary artist is directly inspired by an object or image from the past, it can be useful to compare and contrast recently made work with older similar examples. This kind of juxtaposition offers new contexts for understanding how motifs resurface regularly through generations, how much variety is possible within the dynamic of objects made in a certain material of relative size, and how artists might look at each other’s work for inspiration.

While RAM has an array of work in the collection, this particular exhibition was spurred by the recent acquisition of a number of nineteenth-century glass goblets and mid-twentieth-century ceramic vessels. A selection of contemporary goblets—part of a gift of more than 100 works from various artists—will be paired with historic pieces. The goblets of Frtiz Dreisbach and James Minson, to name just two, reflect contemporary approaches that incorporate tradition yet also expand upon it. Small-scale ceramics including vases and bowls from early-twentieth-century producers—such as Van Briggle Pottery and Weller Pottery—are paired with works from later in the century. These contemporary works include brilliantly-colored Feelies from Rose Cabat and a patterned vessel from Acoma Pueblo maker, Margaret Ascencio.

Artists and Manufacturers Under Consideration for the Exhibition

Nancy Y. Adams, Margaret Ascencio, Rose Cabat, Tom and Elaine Coleman, Fritz Dreisbach, Jeannie Mah, Dante Marioni, Maria Martinez, Matthew Metz, James Minson, George Ohr, Rookwood Art Pottery, Herbert Sanders, Robert W. Stephan, Cesare Toffolo, Van Briggle Pottery, Weller Pottery, and Jade Snow Wong