By Anthony Harris
This month the Corvallis Arts Center offers an exhibit showcasing the work of two talented ceramic artists, Sarah Swanberg and Anthony Gordon. However, the ceramic medium is about the only thing they have in common, as both artists come from very diverse backgrounds.
Swanberg, who held a long career as an art administrator, originally trained as a ceramic artist. Her day job allowed her to travel frequently, build an art house, as well as produce documentaries on artists. It was producing the documentary on wood carver Leroy Setszoil where she discovered a newfound love for the beauty of wood. After her retirement, Swanberg found more time for art making. She carves pieces of wood into river beds and fills them with tiny bullets of bisque fire clay to depict the flow in the river bed.
Gordon wasn’t an ceramic artist early on. She was a scientist who studied animals in places like West Africa and Asia. The influence of those experiences inspired Gordon’s art career, where she began to explore with clay and vapor firing (a combination of baking soda and sawdust in the kiln) her sculptures. The exhibit will feature a series of ceramic mosques she made in reaction to shrines and mosques that were destroyed in Mali back in 2012, spiritual objects everyone in the world cherished.
Sara Swanberg and Anthony Gordon’s exhibit is displayed in the Corrine Woodman Gallery at the Arts Center from Tuesday, July 15 until Saturday, Aug. 9, 700 SW Madison Avenue. Swanberg and Gordon will speak about their work on Wednesday, Aug. 6 at a special reception starting at noon. The Arts Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit www.theartscenter.net for more information.