New alt_space Exhibition in September August 18 2022

Relics From Youth

September 3 - October 15, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 3, 4-7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, September 16, 11 AM

 Trent Berning Ceramics

Trent Berning, Treehouse (front on left, back on right), ceramics, 28 x 20 x 20 inches

 About the Exhibition

Port Orange ceramicist Trent Berning has been represented by Arts on Douglas since 2014 and for this display, he explores concepts of youth, memory, and the passage of time through a collection of highly textured sculptural forms. In his artist statement, Berning elaborates, "As I enter my second decade of being a father, I can’t help but reflect on my children's childhood experiences versus my own.  The juxtaposition between these two experiences is the basis of this body of work."

Berning uses clay along with other materials, such as metals, nails, and shells, to create thick, rough textures that mimic the look of gathered rocks and even wood grain.  He elaborates that the textural quality of this work is “meant to suggest excavated relics as if pulled from the bottom of the ocean or mined from a memory." He continues, “at the same time, the gritty tactile experience of the relics is inspired by the raw earth, which was a significant part of my childhood growing up in a farming community.”   

Some of the forms in this exhibition are sculpted 3D renditions of objects associated with youth, as can be seen in the relic titled Tricycle. Other objects explore youth through narrative scenes that are carved, sculpted, and monoprinted on forms. The piece titled Treehouse is a good example of this presentation. In this whimsical sculpture, wood planks and tree branches appear to encircle a vessel in a precarious attempt to hold up a red brick tree house.

While Berning’s relic sculptures have a narrative quality, he stresses that they are not intended to tell a specific story. Instead, they were created to express a range of moods and emotions that are reminiscent of youth.  He concludes, “In creating this ambiance, I reference objects and scenes that are both personal and relatable, to share a glimpse of an experience and a touch of memory, while ultimately capturing the playful quality of a child’s imagination.”  

About the Artist

Trent Berning, author of A Ceramic Guide: The Art of Creating and Teaching Wheel-Thrown Ceramics, is currently the Chair of the Mike Curb College of Music, Entertainment and Art, Interim Chair of the School of Photography and Media Studies and Professor of Ceramics at Daytona State College.  He earned an M.F.A. in ceramics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and has worked in the field of Ceramics for nearly 30 years.  Professor Berning and his work has been featured on numerous television programs including Southern California Living, Live at Five, and CreArtivity.  He has had various publications in such outlets as the Lark Books 500 series and Clay Times Magazine.  In addition to teaching and conducting workshops across the country, he frequently exhibits his original work across the nation. 


Trent Berning, Night Cloud Vase, ceramics, 24 x 14 x 14 inches