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Gallery Exhibit Communicates Through Clay, Imagines Invention

Communicating through clay takes on literal and figurative form in the next exhibit at The Gallery at Penn College, located on the third floor of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library.

“Neverwhere and Nowhere,” showcasing creations by ceramics artist Tammie Rubin, explores imagery and invention with fantastical communications contraptions. The exhibit will run April 8 through May 4. A Meet the Artist Reception is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, featuring a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m.

"Viaticum," slip-cast, handbuilt, and extruded porcelain, glaze, plasti dip, wood, 15" x 20" x 12"
“Viaticum,” slip-cast, handbuilt, and extruded porcelain, glaze, plasti dip, wood, 15″ x 20″ x 12″

Rubin considers herself a ceramic sculptor who explores invented narratives utilizing recognizable objects and ideas related to the role of ornament and trophy in our daily lives.

“In my current work, I create mythic ornate contraptions that allow for communications beyond this world,” Rubin said. “The word ‘contraptions’ connotes images of amateur inventors creating strange and odd mechanisms, often ridiculous and fantastical. My sculptural contraptions reference conical forms that imply communication: voicepipes, megaphones, dunce caps, caution cones, gramophones, steeples, and satellite dishes. Each of these objects has a myriad of connotations both practical and symbolic. I am not interested in the actual mechanics of early inventions but the simplicity of ideas of connection, the wonderment of magical thinking, and the charm of constructed forms.”

Born in Chicago, Rubin completed her Master of Fine Arts in ceramics at the University of Washington and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and art history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is now an assistant professor of ceramics and foundations.

Her work has appeared in Ceramics: Art & Perception and Ceramics Monthly. With “Neverwhere and Nowhere,” Rubin’s primary interest is transforming the familiar, disposable and trivial into the mythic and fantastical.

"You Tell Me, I Tell Me, I Tell You Contraption," slip-cast and handbuilt porcelain, underglaze, glaze, 19" x 22" x 10"
“You Tell Me, I Tell Me, I Tell You Contraption,” slip-cast and handbuilt porcelain, underglaze, glaze, 19″ x 22″ x 10″

“Through process, I try to satisfy my curiosity for sumptuous fluid surfaces and ideas of accumulation and myth,” she said. “Utilizing the amorphous properties of clay, while exploring its inherent materiality, I create fanciful objects that feel both familiar and alien.”

The Gallery at Penn College is open Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 7 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Saturdays and Mondays). The gallery will be closed April 18-20.

Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public. In addition to serving as an instructional resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, the gallery is dedicated to promoting art appreciation and understanding through its exhibitions of traditional and contemporary art in a variety of media.

For more about The Gallery at Penn College, email or call 570-320-2445.

For more about the college, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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