“Critical Function 2” is a ceramic art exhibition which was originally part of NCECA’s 2020 Annual Conference in Richmond. Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. VisArts and the organizers of “Critical Function 2” felt that it was important to feature this diverse exhibition online to support the artists and NCECA. Works are available for purchase through VisArts’ online shop and will help support both VisArts and the artists directly. Thank you for your support!
Alex Kraft and Melanie Shaw produced “Critical Function,” an exhibition for the 2018 Pittsburg NCECA Conference. Four internationally recognized critics and curators (Gail M. Brown, Janet Koplos, Paul Mathieu and Anthony Merino) each selected 10 functional artists whose work they admired.
In 2020, Kraft and Shaw have kept the essential framework but reworked the selected guest jurors to reflect the NCECA 2020 conference theme: multiVAlent: clay, mindfulness, and memory. Bernadette and Neil Mansfield, Jill Foote-Hutton, Carole Epp, and Garth Johnson agreed to contribute their expertise and experience to this endeavor. All four jurors have played important and mindful roles in promoting contemporary ceramics. Each juror carries forward a personal mission that promotes contemporary ceramics through community-oriented educational outreach. They inform their audience of current practice in relation to historical tradition and technical memory in the field of ceramics.
As with the first iteration of the exhibition, none of the jurors were given directions as to how they should make their selections. The only restrictions placed were not to include any of the artists who took part in the 2018 exhibition, and to consider their own interpretation of “functional ceramics” in their decisions. “Critical Function 2” takes the memory of the previous exhibition forward in this exciting new iteration.