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Ceramic displays highlight newly remodeled art gallery

Jan. 22, 1997

Matthew Lester/ The Lariat

The ceramic art of James Watkins will be on display in the University Art Gallery through February 19.

By Elizabeth Case

Lariat Reporter

The works of world-renowned ceramic artist James C. Watkins opened Tuesday at the University Art Gallery in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. This showing is the first for the newly remodeled gallery.

Watkins, who teaches architecture at Texas Tech University, has contributed crafts to a White House collection and is currently at work on a book featuring his art.

Twenty-four of Watkins' pieces, from teapots to caldrons, are on display until Feb. 19. Images of birds and snakes are seen in many of his pieces.

Watson is featured on the Summer 1992 cover of Ceramics Monthly where he explains the inspiration behind his work. Watson credits the Southwest environment, 'scaling walls to view ancient pictographs among plants and animals that poke and bite,' memories of his mother and grandmother washing clothes in cast-iron caldrons and the realization that 'life is connected to magic' for the intense color in his ceramics.

'His is very exciting work,' said Paul McCoy, associate professor of art . 'Watkins uses the flashing technique in his firing, and this makes his ceramics unbelievably lustrous.'

In Ceramics Monthly Watson attributes his interest in 'rituals and visual things' to his mother's belief that the color of clothing can influence one's emotional state. He grew up in a house that was painted green and wore red and orange clothing that would, according to his mother, make him more alert and happy.

Watson has been appointed to various state art committees and has had his work published in over 30 publications. He has held exhibitions and workshops across the country.

'This is a stunning show and is a wonderful way to show off the freshly renovated gallery. The University gallery is now state-of-the-art' said McCoy.

Watson will lecture in room 149 in Hooper-Schaefer Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., and he will conduct a workshop all day in 168 Hooper-Schaefer on Feb. 19. Spaces are limited, and those interested should contact McCoy for reservations.

The University Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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