Cheyenne Rudolph at Ringling Underground

In recent years, functional ceramics, a medium often shunted into the category of craft, has been accepted into the vast world of contemporary art. The February Ringling Underground features three artists living in Florida and exploring the medium of clay. Jenn Ryan Miller, Sharon Norwood, and Cheyenne Rudolph use ceramics to explore various themes. Their diversity will provide the Ringling Underground audience with a multi-faceted view of contemporary ceramics being produced in Florida at current.

For the first installment of Ringling Underground on February 4, 2016, Cheyenne Rudolph will be performing Lemon-Aider. Cheyenne, who received her MFA in 2014 from University of Florida, is both a ceramicist and performance artist. Her performances utilize subversive functional ceramics to explore childlike assumptions about domesticity and cultural expectations. Cheyenne graciously agreed to participate in an interview to provide the Ringling Underground audience with context about her performance, Lemon-Aider.

Cheyenne Rudolph performing "Lemon-Aider"
Cheyenne Rudolph performing Lemon-Aider

Please describe the piece you will be performing at Ringling Underground on February 4.

The Lemon-Aider is an interactive mobile beverage cart, designed as a traveling performance piece to challenge the collective assumptions surrounding gender identity for women. A nostalgic lemonade stand, the Lemon-Aider is a operated by a caricatured retro housewife, whose good intentions are peppered with indecorous insinuations brought on by the mechanics of operating the juicing device. This is not your childhood lemonade stand.

Citrus Juicer Stand and Cup
Citrus Juicer Stand and Cup

Why did you choose this piece to perform, and what are you hoping from the Ringling Underground audience in terms of participation?

The Lemon-Aider is a friendly piece, highly approachable, and participants come away with a more intimate encounter. The piece is mobile and flexible in how I perform it, as I make lemonade from scratch for one individual at a time. It is more like a conversation with a character than a timed performance in front of a live studio audience. Participants may watch as I demonstrate, or they may interact with me as I make lemonade.

When did you begin combining your ceramics with performance art?

I have a background in theatre, studying it briefly in high school and undergraduate school. As the art objects I made became increasingly ambiguous and absurd in their functions, it was necessary to explain their use. The element of control is important in how I design the work, so it was natural for me to demonstrate, and to essentially take over the use of the objects, so that now, I am the only user. It has blossomed into an engaging way to design and make work.

Saturday Apron
Saturday Apron

Where does a piece begin, the ceramics or the concept for the performance?

Definitely the concept is primary. As I have learned to design for my own engagement, I am liberated from making pedestrian-friendly functional objects, so I think of them as actors or overstated props in the performance. I think about whether I will be performing live or through video, which helps in how I design the work. I also think about the installation and visual context of the piece; because it will be informed by its surroundings and my own interaction, the object no longer has to carry the full weight of the concept. I can, in a sense, magnify my visual concept to installation proportions, letting the backdrop, the video editing, or my own script, bring in subtext. I then make the object with my preliminary performance idea in mind. After the object is complete, the performance may go through a series of trials and refinements, and at times, I need to remake the object to better suit the performance needs.

Lemon-Aider in action
Lemon-Aider in action

What is the relationship between the ceramics and the performance elements of your art?

The objects instigate, or provide the implications of the performance, yet in their complicated design and retro aesthetic, they draw the viewer in. They are designed to be appealing, as is my own costume, yet while in use, they become a source of absurd subversion. I am picking apart and drawing attention to the expectations placed on me, personally, and on women of a particular type.

What type of influences motivate your art practice?

1950s/1960s kitchen products, Chindogu and infomercials of the 90s/00s, parodies and satire, old SNL skits, calling attention to conventionally accepted, yet unjust paradigms. Lucille Ball, Amy Sedaris, drag performers, theatre scenic design techniques and methods.

 


Ringling Underground is series of one night only events combining live music and experiential artworks in the Courtyard. The artwork is curated by Natalya Swanson and Shannon Fortner organizes the musical performances.

Ringling Underground is always free for college students with a valid college ID. It is an extension of the Art After 5 program held on Thursdays after 5 p.m. After hours discounted admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children 6-17, children 5 and under and Museum Members are free.

Cash bar provided by Modern Events at The Ringling.

Ringling Underground is a rain or shine event.
Share your Underground experiences on social media using the hashtag:#RinglingUnderground

Organic Inhabitants Reviewed by Danny Olda

I sympathize with an artist’s skepticism of the art object. However, in a Facebook world that is increasingly losing its thingness and placeness, it’s easy to see why at her gallery’s latest artist talk, Mindy Solomon would quote art critic Roberta Smith – Ceramic art is the new video art.

by Danny Olda

If an apocalypse befell the globe, I reckon the contemporary art world would leave few ruins. Many contemporary pieces conclude their existence at the conclusion of the performance, the end of the video, or the dismantling of the installation. Don’t misunderstand me: I sympathize with an artist’s skepticism of the art object. However, in a Facebook world that is increasingly losing its thingness and placeness, it’s easy to see why at her gallery’s latest artist talk, Mindy Solomon would quote art critic Roberta Smith – “Ceramic art is the new video art”.

The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit. All photos by Danny Olda

Mindy Solomon Gallery’s current exhibit, Organic Inhabitants, is a dual exhibit featuring the ceramic art of Patricia Sannit and the terra-cotta work of David Hicks. Though each artist produces work visually very different from the other, it’s easy to see why both were chosen in relation to the theme Organic Inhabitants. Patricia Sannit’s stark ceramic sculptures evoke the remains of people and cultures. Some pieces resemble sun bleached bones adorned with ritual decoration. Others nearly appear to be ancient tools, bowls, mortars. Sannit’s art confronts the perception of ceramics and clay as a ubiquitous medium across cultures.

The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit

David Hicks works traditional terra-cotta clay to form objects that resemble exotic (extraterrestrial?) flora. The earthen red of the terra-cotta contrasts against the vivid and at times metallic glazes that drip off the sculptures in thick layers. The clay visible at the base of each sculpture can be reminiscent of a pot holding an actual plant.

The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit

Organic Inhabitants draws out the idea of the natural world with work that resembles living organisms as well as hints at the remains of life and living. Each artist makes good use of ceramic’s strong suit: a clear allusion to life and materiality. However, Mindy Solomon as curator juxtaposes the two artists against each other to further develop the theme in connection with the medium.

The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit

The work and exhibit are in some ways part of a general shift toward materiality that even the art world hasn’t been immune to. From MP3’s back to vinyl isn’t all that dissimilar from video art to ceramics. There is much more to this materiality than possessing a physical object, though. The shift isn’t only from abstract to physical, but from technological to organic. Aside from the references to ancient culture inherent in terra-cotta, the literal fingerprints of David Hicks are embedded in the clay. In both conceptual and concrete ways the medium itself has its own Organic Inhabitants.

The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit. All images taken by Danny Olda

Danny Olda is our Tampa Correspondent and publisher of
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The Creature Comforts of David Hicks and Patricia Sannit
Mindy Solomon Gallery
July 14 – September 8, 2012

124 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 502-0852


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Art Meets Agriculture – Farm City Week

November 19-29th, 2011
Each year in November, Manatee County celebrates its heritage with Farm City Week. Local visual artists will be on exhibit.

November 19-29th, 2011
Palmetto Art Center, 907 5th Street West, Palmetto FL

OPENING RECEPTION ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19th FROM 6-9PM.

On Saturday evening, November 19th, from 6-9PM Palmetto Art Center (PAC) will celebrate, through art and music, Manatee County and the City of Palmetto’s association with its agricultural past. Each year in November, Manatee County celebrates its heritage with Farm City Week. PAC wraps up the week long celebration with an enlightening art show entitled ART meets Agriculture. Local visual artists will be on exhibit and members of the Manatee River Bluegrass Band will strum from 7 – 9PM.

The City of Palmetto Proclamation states: “…Farm City Week provides a unique opportunity for those in agricultural enterprises and their city neighbors to become better acquainted and to work together for a better understanding of their interdependence on each other…” PAC strives to better acquaint the county and the City of Palmetto’s community with the work of local artists and their impressions of our agricultural past and future.

Tim Jaeger, a professional contemporary painter of the arts group sARTq, award winning Florida Cowboy photographer, Jimmy Peters, agricultural-inspired canvases, photography, ceramics and milled steel are a sampling of the art on exhibit.

PAC’s ART meets Agriculture show opening reception is open to all who are looking for a social evening of family friendly fun. There is no admission fee. Select artwork, wine and soft drinks will be on sale. For those who cannot attend the opening reception, PAC Gallery is open Monday – Friday 11AM – 2PM, closed on Wednesdays. ART meets Agriculture show will be on show until November 29th, 2011.

PAC is located in historic downtown Palmetto at 907 5th street West – right next door to Growers’ Hardware. For detailed directions and ART meets Agriculture SHOW information visit www.PalmettoArtCenter.com

PAC | Palmetto Art Center
907 5th Street West, Palmetto, FL 34221
(941) 518 – 2109
PalmettoArtCenter.com