Doug Herren, a noted ceramicist, will be displaying his artwork at the List Gallery from now until November 6. The Gallery held a well-attended reception this past Friday to showcase the work and introduce the artist. Herren works as a studio technician at the College.
More than twenty pieces, all glazed and enameled stone, highlight this particularly prolific and whimsical artist. Functional items take on a colorful cast as interpreted by the artist. What could be a serving plate in any normal home, “Platter Form #5,” becomes a gold and turquoise fountain when reproduced by Herren. In one instance, a pretty functional “Teapot” turns into a Mad HatterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s purple fancy through the artistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s imagination. Other ceramic works such as “Platter Form #6” take on an almost cartoon personality, with pronounced bumps and silly spikes. With its bold red color, the work looks more fit for Daisy DuckÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kitchen counter than an exhibit. Like those Disney animators of old, Herren takes boring and makes it special, begging the question, why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t all life be as brilliant as a Herren piece?
In an interview, Herren told the Gazette that he chose ceramics “because of the physicality of it, and the tradition…itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a long process making the pieces. A lot of graphic design majors were sucked into the major, like me.” And as for influences? “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s either ancient or contemporary, ancient Iran or Egypt or something by Peter Voulkus.” One can see both the spirit of something very old in the stone and the magic of a new spark in the style. Whichever era interests the art fan, he or she will not be disappointed.