Land Art: David Shaner
MoCC Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers considers the relationship between contemporary craft and Land Arts today.
Artist and PNCA Faculty Daniel Duford reflects on the work of David Shaner.
Craft Conversation: Reading the Land
Artist Daniel Duford and art historian Matt Johnston speak about how “reading” the landscape functions in their own work.
CraftPerspectives Lecture: William Gilbert
William Gilbert, a ceramic artist who holds the Lannan Chair in Land Arts of the American West in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico lectures on “Land Arts of the American West.”
March 10, 2010 – August 07, 2010
Curated by: Namita Gupta Wiggers
Earthworks, also known as the Land Art movement, describes works from the late 1960s and 1970s by such artists as Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria and Robert Smithson in which art and the landscape are inextricably intertwined. Typically located in remote natural settings, such works are simultaneously monumental and ephemeral, experiential rather than collectible, and best known through photographs. Interest in Land Art has flourished in recent years, as evidenced by an increasing number of pilgrimages to Earthworks sites, exhibitions revisiting and redefining Land Arts, scholarly research and publications and interdisciplinary curricular programs. Such projects continue to expand the scope of what is considered Land Arts today, clearing space to reconsider craft as part of a broader cultural conversation about the landscape as a space where humans and nature meet.
From the early 1960s, David Shaner (1934–2002) created several bodies of ceramic work focused on nature and the landscape of the American West. For example, Garden Slab (1964), created during Shaner’s tenure as resident director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, is a sensual, personal and physical response to Glen Canyon, Utah: a harsh, dry landscape spotted by tranquil pools. Here, Shaner shapes his materials to convey the mass and heaviness of this landscape, using puddles of glaze as liquid relief. Whereas Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (completed in 1970), by contrast, is a grand, sweeping and theatrical gesture, Shaner’s work offers the viewer a quiet yet comparably contemplative experience through an object-centered and craft-based practice.
Using works drawn from the Shaner Family Collection, Catherine and Mike Gilbert, Patti Canaris and the Museum’s collection, along with selected photographs and personal notes taken by the artist over several decades, the exhibition provokes questions about how broader cultural interests in conceptual art and the land, ecology and materiality are explored through the work of an artist known as a “potter’s potter.”
Following the Rhythms of Life: The Ceramic Art of David Shaner, written by Peter Held, Ceramic Research Center, Arizona State University is available for purchase in The Gallery. Special thanks to Peter Held, Ann Shaner, Catherine and Mike Gilbert, and Mike Welsh for their assistance in organizing this exhibition.
EXHIBITIONS AND PUBLIC PROGRAMS ARE SUPPORTED BY:
PNCA+FIVE Ford Institute for Visual Education
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation · The Collins Foundation · John Gray Charitable Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation · The Ford Family Foundation · MJ Murdock Charitable Trust · National Endowment for the Arts · Oregon Arts Commission · PGE Foundation · Regional Arts & Culture Council · Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation · The Standard · Mary Hoyt Stevenson Foundation · Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust · Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt · The Western States Art Federation · Whiteman Foundation · ziba · Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP
With special thanks to: Gerding Edlen Development and their support of the Cyan PDX Cultural Residency Program, The Heathman Hotel, The Nines Hotel, Twenty Four Seven, NWC Nick Weitzer Contracting and Willamette Week.