de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Clay in the Bay

January 18 - March 17, 2013

Stan Welsh (left); Pancho Jimenez (right)

The use of clay as a fine art medium has deep roots in Northern California. Once considered a form of craft, it took the ingenuity, creativity, and vision of artists like Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos to look beyond the medium's utilitarian properties to its expressive qualities. In the decades following, their successors—artists such as Stephen DeStaebler, David Gilhooly, Ron Nagle, and Richard Shaw—continued to stretch the creative boundaries of clay sculpture. Today, the use of the medium as a respected art form continues to thrive.

Clay in the Bay speaks to this important legacy and to the vitality of the medium in the Bay Area. The exhibition brings together artists from around the region who are consistently utilizing clay as a form of self-expression. For some, it is the sole medium in which they work; for others the ceramic elements are part of a larger whole. Through the diverse practice and varied technique of these artists, clay is transformed into organic shape, architectural design, and narrative form. The works included in the show speak to the incredible versatility of the medium as it is molded, shaped, and otherwise manipulated.

Artists in this exhibition include Bean Finneran, Don Fritz, Francisco "Pancho" Jiménez, Robert Kvenild, David Linger, Spring Montes, Matthew Scheatzle, Nancy Selvin, Ehren Tool, Monica Van den Dool, Jenni Ward, and Stan Welsh.


Images, left to right: Stan Welsh, Surrender, 2010, from the series On Land-On Water, photograph, plywood, silk, and terracotta clay, 34 x 36 x 6 in., Courtesy of the artist. Francisco "Pancho" Jiménez, Cara a Cara, 2012, 21 x 21 x 7 in., ceramic, Courtesy of the artist.
Sonic Responses to Clay in the Bay

In winter 2013, twelve students in Alex Christie's MUSC 119: Music, Technology, and Society class composed original works in response to the pieces on view in Clay in the Bay. Their sonic responses are available through free download here.

List of track numbers and corresponding works.

SCU Student Art Reviews

In winter 2013, students enrolled in Prof. Robin Tremblay-McGaw's English class were asked to write reviews of the de Saisset's current exhibitions. Essays by Chris Iliff, Allie Mitchell, and Mirelle Raza were selected to be uploaded to our website.

Chris Iliff's review

Allie Mitchell's review

Mirelle Raza's review