Improvisations - Time Rendered Ceramic Sculptures
November 7 - December 19, 2020
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7, 4-7 PM
About the Exhibition
Sculptor Michael Conti has been working with clay for over fifty years and has experimented with a range of techniques and firing methods over the course of his career. More recently, he developed a process that he has coined the Pick and Stick method. He explains, “There is nothing original about the fact that gooey pieces of super moist clay have little trouble attaching to one another without scoring, slipping, pounding and/or rolling coils, however what makes Pick and Stick unique is the manner in which the stickiness of the clay is used.”
To create the curvy white and cream vessel forms featured in this exhibition, Conti begins with grape-size segments of extremely soft clay that he joins together one-by-one over extended periods of time. Working in this way provides additional range and stretch to the clay, which makes larger, more unconventional forms possible.
The careful management of time that this process affords, is central to Conti’s practice. He stresses that time, as an element in art, is equal in importance with line, space, and composition. He often works on multiple pieces concurrently, with each one reaching completion at its own pace. By slowing down, Conti recognizes continual stages of motion and fluidity, and subtle, often overlooked details can then be realized. He states, “Slowing pace as we approach whatever it is that we choose to do, allows for a rearrangement of intent or purpose. Reducing an activity to a lowest ‘denominator’ creates space in which to plant seeds of additional consideration.”
About the Artist
Michael Conti began working three-dimensionally in 1962 under the artistic direction of David ‘Doc’ Crespi at what was then Southern Connecticut State College. He continued his studies at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York before moving to Topsham, Vermont where he founded Topsham Pottery. In 1979, Conti relocated to South Florida and joined the Florida Atlantic Potter’s Guild. He began building kilns and experimenting with a range of atmospheric processes, such as smoke, salt, wood and soda firings during this time. In the late 1990s, he opened the Mud Hole gallery in Boca Raton, Florida. Conti has presented his work in shows throughout the United States and earned countless awards in pottery and sculpture. He now lives in Ormond Beach, Florida where he has been promoting and refining his Pick and Stick clay construction method.