MCA Hosts Ceramic Artist Joe Page For Artalk

Jessica Branks, News Editor •

On March 26, the McGlothlin Center for the Arts (MCA) hosted ceramics artist Joe Page in the Black Box theater for an Artalk about his work, which is currently on display in the Gallery. The exhibition, which is one installment under the greater title of “Flow Chart,” will be on display in the gallery until April 28.

Students and the public listened to Page as he talked about his artistic journey, and how he discovered ceramics while studying anthropology. His obsession with utility, and tendency to “either collect things or make things” was part of what drove him to pursue it full time. During the lecture, Page also explained his youthful love of video games, and how they influence the escapist nature of his most recent work.

“I’ve been doing this for about ten years,” Page said, explaining that the exhibitions he puts together now are “the development of this kind of material, and aesthetic language over the course of many years.” Flow Chart includes elements of several materials, including ceramic clouds, colorful patches of paint, and vinyl material as outlines and accents.

At the end of the exhibition all those pieces will be packed away and taken to another location to be used in other ways.

“I like the idea that I can transform a space, and it becomes a fleeting moment in time, and if you’re present to see it, you get to fully experience the work,” Page said.

This ephemeral quality of Page’s work also presents unique challenges. As a site-specific installation, each space that his work is put into has different characteristics to work around. Page said, “I’ll always have a photograph to work from and a floor plan, but it’s never exactly what you’d expect.”

Another challenge of Page’s work is the scale and complexity of the setup that the installments require.

Students from Emory & Henry’s museum studies class assisted in the assembly of the exhibition, and Page said that “the way that [the] students are trained to be so courteous and insightful, and just the delicacy and care at executing an artist’s vision; that is so important.”

Despite the inspiration that Page pulls from the 8-bit videogames of the past, he doesn’t see himself moving into the realm of virtual reality or high technology pieces anytime soon.

“I like the idea that you feel like you are the thing that activates the work as you move through the space, and the work is referencing digital culture, but the work itself is not digital,” Page said.

Those who would like to go see the work for themselves can find Flow Chart in the MCA Art Gallery, which is open from Monday to Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm through April 28.

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