Artist Joanna Powell visited the LSU School of Art February 21-22, 2018 to give ceramics workshops and present a lecture to art students titled “Impossible Beauty.” Powell also curated the 8 Fluid Ounces Ceramic Cup Show at the LSU Glassell Gallery.
Powell is a sculptor and painter from Dallas, Texas. Through installation she contextualizes common objects with personal meaning. Her work is the result of thinking about longing, privacy, history and sexuality. She draws inspiration from Etruscan and pre-Columbian pottery, Sèvres porcelain, folk art and painting. Her forms are excavated out of blocks of clay and pinched.
“My work lives in this twilight zone between painting and sculpture,” Powell explains in her artist statement. “The paintings and objects have become married into installations, re-contextualizing them to function as three-dimensional paintings.”
In her studio arts workshops with students, Powell demonstrated ceramics techniques and discussed the artistic process. “What I find beautiful tends to be awkward and irregular and at times the opposite of what is considered the social norm of beauty,” Powell states. “The work allows me a place of asylum, a fictional culture where everything and everyone is okay to exist. I want the viewer forget about an object’s function and call attention to its possibilities as pure matter with its own intentions and encourage questions about what is happening with the objects.”
Powell curated Eight Fluid Ounces 2018, A National Invitational Ceramic Cup Exhibition at the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery through March 4. The ceramic cup show features artists that Powell selected to display a variety of artistic styles; participating artists include: Jordan McDonald, Lydia Johnson, Kala Stein, Nick Weddell, Samantha Briegel, Joe Pintz, Ashley Bevington, Nick Danielson, Birdie Boone, Steven Colby, Ginny Sims, Kurt Anderson, Adam Gruetzmacher, Brian Giniewski, Melissa Mytty, Tom Jaszczak, and Joanna Powell’s own work.
Powell also gave a lecture, in conjunction with the Ceramic Artists Student Association, at the LSU College of Art & Design on February 21, 2018. She discussed her work and the nature of beauty, challenging artists to expand their thinking.