Review: Congeries, Amassment and Heaps

April 10, 2016  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

The first thought when summing up Scott Leipski’s ceramic art show is that he is a generous artist, generous in showing a wide range of his work, and generous in writing statements that describe the intent and inspiration behind many of his pieces.

Scott’s inclusions help the viewer draw greater appreciation for his art while still leaving room to create a personal story. And this is Scott’s chief aim, to tell a good story with his art, one you’ll want to see.

The first story you’ll most likely want to explore is his sculpture in the center of the gallery, his multi-figured piece called Radiance. Cast figures, in this case, rabbits of many shapes and sizes, gather around a larger, elevated figure with a golden glazed human hand on its head. While Scott provides some narrative for this piece, the figures are so compelling, with their soft glazes and expressive modeling, that you find yourself creating a story to explain the fanciful gathering. His pieces really allow you to create a narrative, and with this one, it’s not hard to find an amusing tale as you view the rabbit gathering.

Scott references his childhood toys and stories in some of the pieces along the gallery walls, (all beautifully placed on light-colored wooden boxes). These small pieces from his early career capture an intriguing aspect of childhood, of not only replicating familiar objects, but also the experience of playing – he reminds you, when you were a child, how completely absorbed you could become in the act of playing and creating. It’s a similar experience when looking at his detailed pieces. Scott’s deft hand gives you familiar figures to transport you back to childhood and the experience of playing.

Scott speaks of the “copious trapping of our lives”, our tendencies to collect things that are not longer useful, but that we can’t throw out either. His large, central sculpture is a direct visual comment on this idea, but his smaller pieces, especially the two clocks located on the back wall of the gallery also comment on this idea. After reading Scott’s statements, we all probably imagine our basements, attics, “junk” rooms or drawers bursting with things we can’t quite get rid of. Why do we store, or amass, these things? Scott’s clocks provide a clue – in collecting these tangible objects, we’re trying to “stop time”, or at least, capture a moment in our lives and hold on to it forever.

These objects represent our lives, tell our stories, even though it’s a delusion (they decay as do our memories). Scott cleverly transforms this “stuff” into what can have the ultimate meaning – art.

The most powerful comment on art and the act of creation is found in Scott’s 10 Thoughts on Tuesdays. Ten large vessels are closely displayed on pedestals along one side of the gallery. The display informs the viewer that while these works stand alone, they are part of a whole, an act of creation. His mind and its intention are represented by the vessels, uniquely decorated, but each the same size and shape.

The forms above the vessels are unique, representing seemingly random thoughts he had on that specific day. But, like all of Scott’s pieces, the forms invite the viewer to create a story as well as appreciate their beauty. It is also Scott’s personal story about how to create that is so magnificently told by this piece.

There are many more stories to be found in this show, and it is a delight to find what “speaks” to you through his pieces (for instance, see if you can find the “god of dreams” flying around the gallery).

No matter how familiar we are with a “story” or who tells it to us, it gets filtered through our experiences and our perceptions, becoming our own. Scott is a catalyst with his art, inviting you to remember, to laugh, to wonder and to create. And really, could it get any better than that?

Review by Pat Frueh


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