Beckelman ceramics featured in West Des Moines exhibit

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2009-01-28 10:10:52 - General

Vessel (Brown, Narrow Neck) 10.5" X 7" X 5.5" by John Beckelman

The ceramics of Coe Art Professor John Beckelman are featured in an upcoming ceramics show in the greater Des Moines area. The four-person exhibit, entitled "Ceramics: New Work," will be held at Olson-Larsen Galleries, 203 Fifth Street, West Des Moines. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Feb. 6 from 5-7 p.m., with the exhibit running through March 21.

Beckelman's ceramics will represent work completed over the past year. All of the work is stoneware fired in a residual salt-vapor reduction atmosphere to approximately 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The vessels are intended to evoke a sense of timelessness, stability and ease," noted Beckelman in his artist's statement. "Their forms and surfaces are inspired simultaneously by early Neolithic storage vessels and the natural world. There is for me a curious intersection between the enduring, seemingly tireless character of those early vessels and the fleeting, yet wonderful, impermanence of phenomena in the natural world. The relationships between scale and form in the work are an effort to accentuate the sense of quiet presence."

Although he has used many different materials in his work, Beckelman prefers clay. "Having worked with clay, in a variety of forms and formats and in all its varied physical states for close to 30 years now, I find that the elemental character and expressive potential of clay continues to intrigue me. There seems to be a vital, persistent, almost universal, appeal to clay, which is like no other material," noted Beckelman.

Beckelman has been an art teacher for 35 years, and has taught at Coe since 1978. He served as chair of Coe's art department for 22 years and is currently the Robert O. Daniel Professor of Art. Beckelman has exhibited his ceramics and other artwork at dozens of shows around the country dating back to the mid-1970s. He has been the recipient of many awards and given numerous presentations on his work. Beckelman graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y., and earned a master's degree and an MFA in ceramics from Illinois State University at Normal.