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Currents: solo exhibition

Solo Exhibition by Senior Artist Anthony Marrone Highlights Form and Function in Clay

Students Kristin Wood and Andrew Chew will play acoustic guitar at the opening

“Form and Function in Clay: A Solo Exhibition by Anthony Marrone '10,” is the culmination of this studio art major's self-designed independent study. Marrone, who has a concentration in ceramics, will exhibit recent work in clay that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

The exhibition opens with a reception on Thursday, April 1, at 6 p.m. in the library's Cleveland, Colby, Colgate Archive. All are welcome to attend and admission is free. Students Kristin Wood and Andrew Chew will be playing acoustic guitar at the opening. The exhibition will continue until April 14.

Marrone sought to challenge himself by setting up a show and presenting his work publicly as a professional artist. “Being able to understand the process and successful completion of such a task is important to an artist,” he says. “When I encounter these challenges in the future, I will be ready to take them on with confidence and direction.”

The show will feature functional pieces such as vessels, bowls and cups that Marrone has created over the past year. To understand his intentions in creating these pieces, he says, it's important to consider the features of a standard ceramic vessel. Most ceramic pieces contain a rim, shoulder, body and foot, the elements that comprise the form from top to bottom. Marrone says he often chooses to emphasize some of these elements to create eye-catching points of interest.

“When I created this body of work, I tried to focus on the proportions of these elements to create shapes that are clean and complete. Many times I do this through eliminating straight sides and adding line breaks,” he says. “I find that some of my most successful pieces obtain a sense of elegance when my proportions land correctly.”

Marrone intended to concentrate in photography in the Fine and Performing Arts Department, but after two studio classes in ceramics, he knew it was the right medium for him. “I enjoy the process of creating art directly from the mud of the earth,” he says.

Over the last several years, Marrone's ceramic work has been influenced by forces both within and outside of the college. At Colby-Sawyer, Professor Jon Keenan has taught him the historical background of pottery. Through his specialty in East Asian art, Professor Keenan has exposed him to the aesthetic ideals of several cultures and deepened his understanding of the evolution of the ceramic arts world. His other professor, Dave Ernster, has shared his vast knowledge of materials and helped him develop the technical skills to apply his knowledge in his practice.

“Dave knows how to identify issues with an unsuccessful piece, whether it be in its form, function, material make up, or its firing. He then can attack that issue with confidence and intelligence,” Marrone says. “As their student, I try to absorb what they have to offer and form my own work of professional quality. They've supported me to the fullest.”

In his internship with local ceramic artist Dave Pellerin, Marrone learned how to run a professional production pottery studio and saw how much energy it takes to support oneself as a ceramic artist. He also learned how to “throw clean forms with a professional finish.”

These ceramic artists have also led him to the work of contemporary ceramic artists as sources of inspiration, artists such as Peter Voulkos, Chris Gustin and Josh Deweese. “These artists have further reinforced my motivation by proving over and over again that there are an unlimited number of outcomes that can exist behind the kiln door,” Marrone adds.

Professor Keenan has watched his student develop as an artist through experimentation, creative problem-solving and hard work. “Anthony loves and respects the medium, and combines the art, craft and science of working in clay to produce some exquisite results,” he says. “This requires focus and careful study, not to mention long hours of preparing materials, creating pieces, building kilns, and tending the fire throughout the night. Anthony is always striving and taking his work to the next level.”

Marrone sets the high standards of excellence for himself and has created an exciting body of work which embraces both ceramic sculpture and functional ceramics, according to his professor. “Anthony consistently translates information from kiln firings and studio research, readings and life experiences to new and original pieces,” Professor Keenan says. “He is a true leader in the studio, always there to assist others in the pursuit of excellence.”

The upcoming solo exhibition marks the first time a student artist has shown ceramic work in the archives. “It's important for any artist to share and exhibit their recent work and the archives provide an appropriate context in which to enjoy Anthony's work,” Professor Keenan says. “This exhibition is a celebration of his work, and I know they college community will enjoy seeing his pieces displayed in a space which is both beautiful and contemplative. I'm excited to see his work in this context as this influences the experience.”

In his last semester before graduation, Marrone leads a harried life, pulling all-nighters and much of his weekends in the ceramics studio in preparation for the juried student show, this solo exhibition and the senior exhibition that begins on April 15 before moving on to complete his Capstone presentation.

“Anthony is just getting warmed up,” says Professor Keenan. “His talents will help shape a future and path providing beauty, integrity and continuous discovery. He will go far. We need great artists and teachers and Anthony can fill that need through his great energy and work.”

-Kimberly Swick Slover

Photos are by Anthony Marrone '10.