‘Seeking Oxygen’: an upcoming Bates exhibit

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 1:56 PM
‘Seeking Oxygen’: an upcoming Bates exhibit by Gabriel Hypes
Photo: Gabriel Hypes

Amid busy preparations for his senior ceramic exhibition, “Seeking Oxygen,” Noah Kildoo sat down, surrounded by his pieces, to speak about his upcoming show and his passion for ceramics.

Kildoo described his work as being “heavily rooted in functional pottery,” going on to explain that this means he produces mainly cups, mugs, bowls and other things that would serve more than just an aesthetic purpose to the buyer. He has chosen to narrow his focus specifically on teapots this year. His attraction to this specific form stems from his interest in the juxtaposition of creating a modern day functional version of an antiquated object.

For inspiration, Kildoo turns to a style of pottery known as Carolina Slipware.

This specific process uses all clay materials as opposed to glazes, which gives the exterior of a piece its glass-like finish. Kildoo has expanded upon this traditional process by underlaying an “iron-based slip” before putting down a light colored slip (watered down clay), which he then strategically “swipes through” with his fingers, exposing the dark iron color underneath. This process allows Kildoo’s work to feel much more nature-oriented in both color and finish.

Kildoo credits this growth in his work to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, where he spent this past summer furthering his ceramic education and being inspired by the surrounding artists and their craft.

Kildoo chooses a combination of firing methods to produce his ceramic work known as “soda firing” and “wood firing.” He described the benefits of each firing process and why he likes the results of each individually, as well as combined, speaking with confidence and clear expertise.

Wood firing, he explained, takes much more time and financing to execute; the soda kiln, meanwhile, gives him more control over the “atmosphere” his pieces are exposed to, allowing him to have more of an impact on the final look.

The centerpiece of the show is a large scale vase that utilizes the Carolina Slip technique. This particular piece is especially worth taking a close look at, because it’s unique in the fact that

Kildoo dug up the “black clay” it is made from by hand when he stumbled upon it by happy accident in the shorelines of Maine.

The vase will stand on a pillar in order to allow viewers to see its true, commanding scale and view each angle of the piece. This is something that was important to Kildoo, as he takes pride in making sure none of his pieces have a true “front.” He aims to create diagonal and flowing designs that “lead the viewer to walk around a piece.”

This centerpiece will be surrounded by works that are similar in style and form but are of lesser scale; Kildoo proudly refers to these pieces as “deacons” to the main piece.

The show will be held in Bates Gallery in Loveland Hall from Oct. 16-20, with an opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.

Gabriel Hypes is the arts editor for The Spectator. He can reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

Additional Photos:

Photo: Gabriel HypesPhoto: Gabriel HypesPhoto: Gabriel Hypes

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