When you hear the term pottery, the first images that come to mind are earth-toned vessels of functional shapes and sizes. However, Rockford ceramic artist and professor Lynn Fischer-Carlson takes you to a different visual realm with her clay works. They are narrative sculptures, portraits in clay that generate individual personalities that are colorful, quirky, humorous, and can even be disturbing.
Fischer-Carlson’s exhibition “Disguised: Portraits in Clay” opens Fall ArtScene Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3 in the Kortman Gallery.
“The ceramic heads in this Kortman exhibit deal with my observations of absurd human behaviors, awkward experiences and complicated relationships,” says Fisher-Carlson. “Often poignant, maybe disturbing or disguised, and definitely with double meanings, these ceramic sculptures have become explorations about people and their odd ways. The human experience always guarantees a full spectrum of situations and interactions.”
Fischer-Carlson’s heads are stylized, simplified forms. She hand builds these sculptures using coils of clay, pinching and compressing them together. She then adds bits of clay to provide facial expressions and other attributes, including texture and color, which adds another layer of emotion, energy or reaction.
Fischer-Carlson is a professor in the art department at Rock Valley College. She has a BFA from Illinois State University and earned her Masters of Fine Arts from NIU, both degrees in ceramics with an emphasis in art history. She started and designed the ceramic art program at RVC. Throughout her 16 years at RVC she has been able to bring many aspects of art and culture to our community through teaching ceramics, providing lectures to various community groups and as a working artist.
The Kortman Gallery exhibit “Disguised: Portraits in Clay” by Lynn Fischer-Carlson will open in conjunction with Fall ArtScene Friday, October 2 from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, October 3, 3-9 p.m. It will be on display through November 14. Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit jrkortman.com.