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a non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts

Temporary adddress:
2101 Maywill St., Richmond, VA 23230
Currently open by appointment only
artspaceorg@gmail.com | (804) 232-6464

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May 25 - June 17, 2018

Cary Loving – "Residue"

Saggar-fired Clay
smallspace Gallery

Opening Reception for the Artists
Fourth Friday, May 25, 2018
6:00-9:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public

Closing Artist Talk
Sunday, June 17, 2018
2:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public


An intimate exhibition of small saggar-fired clay and mixed media wall works, including leaf imprint plates and bird forms.


This work records a personal encounter with nature that begins with outings to observe and photograph nature, as well as to gather raw materials – branches, roots, leaves and vines. This continues with editing specimens and pressing them into clay and coating with washes of earth oxides. Some of the work is made with the nature photographs transferred to the clay surface. Some pieces are intentionally incomplete so additions of a mix of materials can be made later. The firing takes place within a small closed clay box with organic materials – sawdust, twigs, pine needles, leaves – inside an electric kiln. There is an interaction of my intuitive choices and the unpredictability of the fire, smoke, and falling debris. The collaboration with nature is made permanent. The residue of the process remains in the final piece.

Some of the questions that arise from my practice involve perfection and beauty. What constitutes beauty? Must a broken piece be discarded? Is a crack a failure or a lovely unplanned linear element?

For me the process of craft does not imply control that seeks a perfect or predictable outcome. Rather it is the simple use of clay in a cycle of repetition with experimentation that is open to surprising discoveries such as the beauty of imperfection.

The scarred surfaces and embedded impressions of cut plants that remain in the clay create a kind of memento mori, and a reminder of what we learn from nature: the constancy of the struggle to survive, the inevitable endings and continuous renewal. Perhaps in contemplating these lessons, a residue of meaning will remain with the viewer.


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Page Updated May 13, 2018