PORT CHESTER, NY – When an installation at the Clay Art Center opens, it’s always worth the trip (no matter how much gas costs). Starting this weekend, there will be three times more reasons to visit the gallery, in person or virtually. The center will present three simultaneous exhibitions until August.
The Clay Art Center’s new exhibition will celebrate the artistic achievements of their current artists-in-residence: Able Broyles, Anny Chen and Breana Hendricks. The works are on display in the gallery and online from now until August 4. The opening will take place on Saturday June 25 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. You will have the chance to meet the artists, see their personal exhibitions and enjoy light refreshments.
For more than two decades, emerging artists have had the opportunity to advance their careers at the Clay Art Center (CAC) through its nationally recognized Artist-in-Residence program. Over the years, the CAC has seen 50 young artists get the chance to launch their artistic careers and learn valuable teaching skills. Their residencies culminate each year with an end-of-year exhibition highlighting their artistic achievements throughout the past year. Many previous artists-in-residence have gone on to flourishing artistic careers in the United States and around the world.
From the Clay Art Center:
Reflected light, Cast shadow
Annabelle “Able” Broyles is the Rittenberg Artist-in-Residence of the Clay Art Center. They hold a BFA from the University of Georgia – Lamar Dodd School of Art. Able has spent the past three years in New Orleans, LA as an auto mechanic. They completed their post-baccalaureate studies at Tulane University in 2020. Able has exhibited work in solo and group shows in Louisiana, Georgia, and Italy.
Artist Statement: “My work is an excavation of memory, of the mind and of the places where central events in our body take place. I am interested in the subconscious and where identity and the concept of ‘I’ come into play. I am a non-binary individual who has additionally, or subsequently, struggled with eating disorders for most of my life.It has been essential to my survival to separate “me” from fitness, as the two have often felt at odds with each other.This separation of identity and outward presentation is something I explore and deal with through my art.
Through the action of doing, I access deeper parts of myself; my hands become the interpreters of concepts and feelings of which I do not yet have the language. When I work on an object, I record the messages that reach me and what I see resonating in my environment. These messages are recorded as fingerprints in the soft clay or the hair and fiber samples collected in everyday life. I work with clay because of the story it can tell through the evidence of the process. Like clay, the subjects of my work start underground, shapeless and soft – becoming more defined and structured the more they are unearthed. Although my work is often rooted in the personal, it contains universal truths that speak to the human experience of identity, consciousness and community.”
On the thinning ice
Anny Chen’s handmade, handcrafted ceramic stools are influenced by traditional Chinese craft practices and central motifs of the Chinese-American diaspora. Through her work, Anny questions what it means to belong to a family, a community or a place, as well as the responsibilities that come with it. She was born in New York and raised in Nowata, Oklahoma, interspersed with visits to her ancestral home in Fuzhou, China. Anny holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and studied at the pottery studio in Jingdezhen, China. During her residency at the Clay Art Center this year, she focused on how best to turn her climate anxiety into action.
Artist Statement: “Throughout my work, clouds are a repeated motif. They have represented connection, tradition, belonging, home, family, an idealized landscape in an ever-changing environment…but I first drew them to feel connected to china through old chinese pottery I carve, brush, scrape and carve clouds in gourds and stools, think back to what my childhood might have been like If I had grown up in China. Rural Oklahoma. Would I care so much about my roots if I had grown up around people who looked like me? My anxiety about home as a place drives me to work on “home” as a feeling – for I’m afraid I don’t quite belong even now.
With climate change intensifying and the lack of real reform from lawmakers, my anxiety is mounting as my sense of belonging wavers. I reference patterns and shapes from China to romanticize a period of a country with which I have no real connection as an American. These complications of identity, place, and belonging in my work reveal a need to resist the trap of stagnant definitions as I reflect on my role in America. Do I even want a house here? My work is a sandbox for understanding these questions and sharing these incomplete answers with my audience. I invite people to feel a sense of contemplative comfort when interacting with my work.”
Breana Hendricks is the Clay Art Center’s Westchester Community Foundation Young Artist Fellow. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the State University of New York in New Paltz, NY. Before coming to Port Chester, she received the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship Award from the Center of Craft in Asheville, North Carolina. Breana has exhibited at galleries in New York’s Hudson Valley and was a Chili Bowl intern and instructor at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY. She has worked at the Clay Art Center since 2019 as a Community Arts Assistant and Westchester Fellow.
Artist Statement: “Becoming features works that explore my racial and gender identities. I am inspired by the production of pottery in communities in West Africa, the Caribbean and South America. I refer to a ceramic tradition integral to sculpting figural vases and burial jars, and balancing rich clay bodies with decorative tableware depicting self-portrait silhouettes. Observing the roles of women who make pots for daily and ritual purposes gives me a new understanding of my own domestic values and responsibilities.
Clay Art Center is a nationally recognized nonprofit center for the advancement and practice of the ceramic arts offering exhibits, clay classes for adults and children, studios for artists from around the world. clay and awareness programs in the community. It is located in the heart of Port Chester at 40 Beech Street. More information about exhibitions, virtual artist talks, virtual and in-person classes or shop can be found on the CCA website.