University of Puget Sound Alumni Ceramics Exhibition


2013 Clatsop Community College University of Puget Sound Alumni Ceramics Exhibition Press Release

 Clatsop Community College is pleased to announce an upcoming visual arts exhibit titled “University of Puget Sound Alumni Ceramics Exhibition” featuring work from graduates of the University of Puget Sound from the early 1970’s through the present. The work will be curated by Reid Ozaki, Ceramic Artist and Instructor at Tacoma Community College and Graduate of University of Puget Sound, BA in Biology and MFA who was invited by Richard Rowland, Ceramics Instructor at Clatsop Community College. The invited artists include Matt Allison, Rob Beishline, Kenny Bell, John Benn, James Brooke, Tad Deming, Ralph Esposito, Kirk Freeman, Robert Foreman, Colleen Gallagher, Rosette Gault, John Hasegawa, Rob Jackson, Kim Lyle, Rick Mahaffey, Erin McCoy, Reid Ozaki, Geoffrey Pagen, Dan Schmitt, Jill Smith, Ken Stevens, Comador Stewart, Kaaren Stoner, Miles Struxness, Mike Topolski, William Vogler, and Jim White.

Their work will be on display from April 3rd to May 8th, 2014 in CCC’s Art Gallery, 1799 Lexington Ave, Astoria Oregon. CCC Art Center Gallery will host an opening reception on April 3th at 6:00 pm, which is free and open to the public.  Some of the artists will be in attendance and refreshments will be provided. In addition to the exhibit, CCC will be hosting workshops in the CCC Art Center.  A Ceramic Workshop with Reid Ozaki will be held on Friday, May 9th from 10:00AM to 4:00PM and a Ceramic Workshop with Colleen Gallagher on April 4th from 10AM to 4PM in the CCC Ceramics Studio.  Email Richard Rowland or call 503-338-2449 for information. Seating is limited. Workshops are free and open to the public.

An article in the Spring 2013 issue of Arches, the alumni magazine of the University of Puget Sound, reminisced about the UPS Ceramics program and featured some of the alumni active in the Northwest today.

“It occurred to some of us involved in the article, that there are many other graduates of the program throughout the country doing fine work and that it might be interesting and timely to reconnect.  We have contacted as many fellow graduates as we could think of.  We have followed up on all subsequent suggestions for people to add.  What we have collected for this exhibition is a wide spectrum of work produced by group with equally diverse career paths.  Within this group, there are the studio potters and there are those who have been involved in teaching Art and ceramics; some have combined the two.  There are those who have chosen careers in other fields yet find themselves drawn back to the medium.  We all share a foundation in clay that has served us well in the years since we first decided clay was our passion.

We wish to thank Richard Rowland and Clatsop Community College for offering the college gallery for this exhibition.” Organizing committee: Matt Allison, John Benn, Colleen Gallagher, Reid Ozaki, and Miles Struxness.

All of the artists sent statements and here are a few.

“Some of my earliest memories are of swimming around in the tide pools near Hilo and playing among thehapu`u at Camp Hale Aloha in Volcano, Hawaii.  This was the beginning of my interest in and love for the natural world.  My grandfather was a great influence on me.  He loved to create bonsai and designed and built beautiful gardens surrounding his home.” Reid Ozaki.  At University of Puget Sound Reid worked with Kenneth D. Stevens and famous Ceramics instructor Carlton Ball.

Colleen Gallagher studied ceramics with Ka Kwong Hui at Rutgers University and studio art in the MFA Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She earned her MFA from the University of Puget Sound, where she met John Benn. On Harstine Island in Puget Sound, south of Seattle, Washington, John and Colleen fire in two wood burning kilns: a salt kiln with a Bourry-style firebox and a 25 foot long anagama hybrid kiln, the Mongrelgama. She is a professor at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia WA. John Benn is a master potter devoted to the woodfire process and is a fulltime studio artist. John studied at UPS under Carlton Ball also.

After studying at University of Puget Sound, Matt Allison continued studying at Southern Illinois University where he received an MFA in ceramics. He is influenced by the Japanese aesthetic and looks to abstract expressionism for inspiration.

Ralph Esposito lives and works in Montana. He has taught art for more than 35 years at Carroll College in the capital city of Helena. Esposito has degrees from the University of Connecticut and the University of Puget Sound. He was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad in 2008 to Greece and Bulgaria. During the fall of 2012 he spent three months on sabbatical in Jingdezhen, China studying Chinese ceramics and porcelain as a Visiting Artist with a group from West Virginia University.

Rosette Gault, Ph.D. earned her M.F.A. from University of Puget Sound in 1979. Her most recent bookPaperclay Art and Practice was published by Bloomsbury/UPenn Press in 2013. Based in Seattle she has exhibited and taught worldwide.

 Geoffrey Pagen earned a B.F.A. in studio arts with honors from the University of Puget Sound and is currently the head of the Ceramic Program at Reed College in Portland, Oregon since 1979.  “All commissioned projects that I have worked on over 30 years have challenged me into new ways of thinking and designing. The idea of “effective surprise” has always appealed to me, when the finished artwork takes us beyond common ways of experiencing a site. A work of Art expresses the artists behavior, and it also serves as a relay, a point of departure for impulses that can attain extraordinary magnitudes.” Geoffrey Pagen

Comador Stewart, whose journey began in Texas, was honored to become the first president of the Washington Potters Association.

In 1984, James Brooke was granted an Artist-in Residency in Queensland, Australia, at

Beechmountain Pottery….”One of my biggest insights came from observing on a daily basis.”…

It seems reasonable to expect that beauty will emerge from a fusion of the individual character and culture of the potter, with the nature of his materials.” Bernard Howell Leach(1887-1979), British Studio Potter and art teacher regarded as the “Father of British Pottery”, from A Potters Book (1940) Faber & Faber, London.

“Most of our artists are trained at universities.  For this exhibit I want to explore those relationships between artists and academia and how that contributes to the quality and the value of work especially in the field of ceramics where most artists depend on grass roots support in their communities. There is always a battle for cultural space in the community, but supportive and critical academic training helps artists find their unique journey toward cultural identity and individual expression. I like to think of the arts as an “ecological culture” that can make, define and explore relationships and bring diversity and new perception into our community that contributes to the over all cultural landscape. This exhibition demonstrates a natural way to “reach out” in order to find the physical artifacts that represent that diversity and it’s unique perception. In reviewing the work “most” of the works seem to be about material exploration and innovation using traditional clay forms as canvases. There is plenty to explore in the new age of material availability.  The digital age has led to collective and global sharing that evolves into a kind of “global eutectic”. It’s obvious in the field of Ceramics as represented also by this body of work that Americans are finding their own way.  There is a continuous break down of cultural lineage in the traditional Arts, but these artists persist, taking customary practice to a hybrid search for practicality.” Richard Rowland, CCC Art Instructor

For more information about any of the artists or events check out our webpage at: or contact Richard Rowland at or call (503) 338-2449.

Richard Rowland

Art Instructor
Clatsop Community College
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