We have lots of artworks celebrating the things that made America great, from portraits of the founding fathers to paintings of the land.
Now it’s the machines and factories turn.
Heavy industry, big machines, molten steel, endless assembly lines...hot, relentless and ambitious.
Heavy industry made America great, made her the world power she is today.
But, is it art?
Artist Charlie Cummings says, “Corroded, rusted things you see laying out in the junkyard…they find beauty in that and they are mimicking that in clay.”
Finding art in industry is the point of a great ceramics exhibit at Fort Wayne's Charlie Cummings Studio.
The clay artists represented here see machines, tools, oil and steel and find something beautiful in them.
Canadian artist Patrick Taddy makes salvage yard teapots.
He makes copies in clay of machine and car parts he finds in junkyards and assembles them into ornate machine-like sculptures, complete with fake welds.
And they are working teapots as the name implies.
Florida artist Melissa Mencini is fascinated by antique medical equipment.
This is a turn of the century stethoscope, all of clay.
Stephen Heywood grew up on the plains of Kansas.
He draws on the shapes of weathered barns, silos and water towers to create his vessels.
Anna Ramsburgh's classical Greek vessels appear to be made with industrial diamond deck plating.
And Jill Allen’s whimsical machines…she calls this is a volume proglamator, comment on America's sometimes giddy fascination with technology.
Cummings says, “We don't know what they are, but if we knew what they are, they'd definitely make life easier.”
Scott Dooley uses shapes found in mufflers, oil cans and pipes to create beautiful, almost animated pitchers.
These artists all have strong opinions about what’s good and bad about American industry, but in this exhibit politics almost take a back seat to aesthetics.
Cummings says, “They want to push the limits. The beauty of these pieces is they've taken something ordinary and put it in a new context and that's where we start to appreciate it as art.”
These pieces are often inventive and always fun...enough to convince us industry can be good and bad...and sometimes, even beautiful.
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