Project Tag: Russell Biles Current

Our America/Whose America?

Our America/Whose America?

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION


OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

Our America/Whose America? is a call and response exhibition between contemporary ceramic artists and commercially produced historic ceramic plates, figurines and objects placed in conversation with one another, installed on period furniture throughout the Wickham House at the Valentine.

Featured artists include Elizabeth Alexander, Chris Antemann, Russell Biles, Jacqueline Bishop, Judy Chartrand, Cristina CoŐĀrdova, CRANK, Connor Czora, Michelle Erickson, Sergei Isupov, Steven Young Lee, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Beth Lo, Justin Rothshank, Paul Scott, Kevin Snipes, Rae Stern, Mara Superior, Momoko Usami and Jason Walker. Historical Works include selections from Ferrin Contemporary‚Äôs collection of commercially produced ceramics.

This exhibit is organized by Ferrin Contemporary in conjunction with Coalescence, the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts held March 20-23, 2024 in Richmond, Virginia.

  • View the historic collection HERE
  • View The Wickham House HERE
  • View The Valentine Museum HERE
  • View the 2024 Press Release HERE

EXHIBITING ARTISTS


Throughout our forty-year history, we have used multi-artist survey exhibitions as a platform to explore social issues. We’ve focused on gender and feminist perspectives, broached relationship taboos, and challenged historical notions of ceramics and art.

The contemporary artists we’ve invited use their work to assert their autonomy and subjectivity by presenting intertwined cultural critiques through lenses of their own choosing, starting with race, gender, and class. Each of these categories is tentacular and touches upon myriad other ideas including nature, warfare, food and water inequity, and more.

PROGRAMMING


Special Preview on February 21, 2024 from 5 – 7 pm

– Leslie Ferrin & Alex Jelleberg on-site Conference Preview with The Valentine

Coalescence, the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts takes place in Richmond, Virginia.

FERRIN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AT NCECA


Women Working with Clay: A Shared Purpose

Mar 20, 2024 – Mar 23, 2024

Group Show with Linda Sikora

Location: The Valentine 10th and East Clay Street in historic downtown Richmond

This exhibition is organized by Dara Hartman in conjunction with Coalescence

50 Years in the Making – NCECA Richmond

Mar 20, 2024 – Mar 23, 2024

Group show with Lauren Mabry

50 Years in the Making will examine how 75 Residents since 1974 have coalesced to form the creative identity of The Clay Studio.

Event
Opening Reception
Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 7-9pm
RSVP HERE

Location: Common House | 303 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA

EVENTS & TOUR DATES


Location for All Events:

The Valentine 10th and East Clay Street in historic downtown Richmond

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 Ferrin Contemporary + Wickham House Tour – Regular Hours

РAlex Jelleberg & Isabel Twanmo on-site with docents to provide guided tours at scheduled times 
11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

The Valentine is open regular hours during the conference. The Wickham House offers guided tours on the hour. Tours are free to the public with museum admission (free admission on Thursday, March 21!) & free for all NCECA attendees. First come first serve, limit 15 guests per tour.

Thursday, March 21, 2024 РNCECA РMEET THE ARTISTS 5 Р7 pm 

Open to the public all NCECA attendees РAlex Jelleberg  & Isabel Twanmo

OAWA Tour Graphic April 2024

Sunday, April 21, 2024 – Final Guided Tour of Our America/Whose America? | 2-3pm

Join Ferrin Contemporary’s Leslie Ferrin & Alexandra Jelleberg on-site with Valentine Museum docents to provide a final guided tour of Our America/Whose America? in the Wickham House – Open to the public.

The¬†Richmond Stories‚ĄĘ¬†section of this site, which includes an¬†interactive history timeline, features many of the stories that bring history to life in creative, engaging and inclusive ways.

Through educational programs that engage over 14,000 students and teachers each year to community conversations, walking tours, group visits and more, the Valentine offers compelling experiences for visitors of all ages.

The Wickham House at the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

The Wickham House at the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

A dialogue-based guided tour of the Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1812, challenges guests to explore aspects of life in the early 19th century. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. This historic home allows us to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more.

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA | 2022


OUR AMERICA/ WHOSE AMERICA?


AUGUST 6 – OCTOBER 30, 2022

LESLIE FERRIN
(Director & Founder) Ferrin Contemporary

Our America, Whose America presents a dialogue between contemporary artists and a collection of commercially produced ceramics. This collection of historical objects, collected across the span of several years by Founding Director Leslie Ferrin, is in the form of plates, souvenirs, and figurines from the early 19th through mid-20th centuries. The items were produced in England, Occupied Japan, and various factories in the USA. The exhibition title was chosen from a series of plates produced by Vernon Kiln that features illustrations of American scenes by the painter Rockwell Kent.

In response to this historical collection, contemporary works by nearly 30 participating artists will provide new context and interpretation of these profoundly powerful objects. Seen now, decades and in some cases centuries later, the narratives they deliver through image, characterization, and stereotype, whether overt and bombastic or subtle and cunning, form a collective memory that continues to impact the way people see themselves and others today.

Exhibition At Ferrin Contemporary


1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA

ARTISTS & CONTRIBUTORS


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA? EXHIBITION CATALOG


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022

Exhibition and catalog production by Ferrin Contemporary staff, catalog layout by Rory Coyne with installation and artwork photography by John Polak Photography, 2022.

  • 58 Page Catalog
  • ¬†Introduction by the Gallery
  • Featuring 23 Artists
  • Installation & Artwork Photos by John Polak Photography

Published by Ferrin Contemporary

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ILLUSTRATION AND RACE, Exhibition & Symposium at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA


HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ILLUSTRATION AND RACE

Zoom Webinar (online)
Welcome and Opening Program:
Friday, September 23, 2022
7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Symposium Presentations and Panels:
Saturday, September 24, 2022
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ILLUSTRATION AND RACE

A series of compelling talks by Heather Campbell Coyle, Ph.D; Karen Fang, Ph.D; Michele Bogart, Ph.D.; Theresa Leininger-Miller, Ph.D.; and Leonard Davis, followed by conversation with the commentators.

SYMPOSIUM FEATURES


Hidden in Plain Sight: Illustrated Ceramics and American Identity

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 Introduction to Symposium co-curators Stephanie Plunkett and Robyn Phillips Pendleton
23:00 Introduction
28:00 Leslie Ferrin Our America/Whose America? collection and exhibition
46:00 Jacqueline Bishop
52:00 Paul Scott
1:02:00 Elizabeth Alexander
1:11:00 Johnson
1:21:00 Judy Chartrand
1:37:00 Q&A

Hidden in plain sight, illustrations on porcelain and ceramic ware have, throughout history, transformed functional objects into message-bearers for a wide range of political and propagandistic causes, whether exchanged by heads of state or acquired for use or display in domestic settings. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary will discuss the imagery, drawn from popular nineteenth-century prints, that was reproduced on widely distributed ceramics portraying historical events, indigenous people, and notable explorers, inventors, and politicians through a white European lens. The panel will explore how these seemingly ordinary objects, including Rockwell collector plates, have helped to establish firmly held beliefs about American identity. Artists Elizabeth Alexander, Jacqueline Bishop, Judy Chartrand, Niki Johnson, and Paul Scott, will discuss contemporary ceramics, which reject systems of racial oppression and invite reconsideration of the sanitized version of history that was presented for generations.

Historical Perspectives on Illustration and Race

View the Entire Symposium Playlist from the Norman Rockwell Museum

TIMESTAMPS

00:00 START
00:13 Welcome
04:49 Opening Remarks
22:50 Panel: Hidden in Plain Sight – Illustrated Ceramics and American Identity

These concise presentations by Imprinted: Illustrating Race catalogue authors and exhibition lenders will focus on widely-circulated historical representations of race in the press and in popular culture that established a sense of American nationalism for white audiences through the subjugation of Indigenous, Black, and Asian people and cultures.

Witness to History: Collecting Black Americana
Leonard Davis, designer and collector

PAST PROGRAMMING


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022

OPENING RECEPTION

Thursday, August. 11, 2022 | 5-7 pm
during Building 13 Art Walk

CLOSING RECEPTION

Special Guest Artist Paul Scott (UK)

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 |  5-7 pm

Closing reception of the ‘OAWA’ exhibition at Ferrin Gallery, with special guest artist Paul Scott (UK) in attendance, as well as select additional artists and the curators in the exhibition.

at Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA

SYMPOSIUM

Historical Perspectives on Illustration and Race

Zoom Webinar (online)
Welcome and Opening Program:
Friday, September 23, 2022
7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Symposium Presentations and Panels:
Saturday, September 24, 2022
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RUSSELL BILES

RUSSELL BILES

ARTWORKS

CANCELED



As a child growing up in the 60’s I enjoyed watching a TV show called The Rifleman. Chuck Conners, the ‘Rifleman’, justly dispatched 120 bad guys during the show’s run. As an adult I still enjoy watching “The Rifleman” gun em down but no longer feel that sense of Freedom and Security once enforced by the ‘magical gun’.

Today I realize that our Country’s Freedom and Security have actually come from the end of a gun and those willing to use this gun in our defense- My concern and motivation for creating Canceled is my fear that today’s and tomorrow’s generations will fail to accept this reality. Thus compromising¬† our Country’s Freedom and Security.

RAKE


My works being exhibited are from the series “Gone”. This series looks back 50 years to memories of my childhood in the racially divided mill town of Concord, North Carolina. It highlights events and circumstances that I believe reflect our social evolution and invite comparisons between the past and the present. These comparisons can be viewed literally or metaphorically.

When compiling subjects for this series I tried to think of memorable scenarios that spoke to issues of today and to my responsibilities as a parent and grandparent.  Also, I wanted to evoke the perspective of a child experiencing a world created for them by adults. An adult influence, good and bad, not only creates the moment but steers generations to come.

The last piece I produced for this ongoing series is “Rake”. As a kid raking leaves and mowing grass was a job for kids. That was how we made money. I don’t know what happened but we got lazy.¬† And now we hire immigrants to do our work for nothing and then complain about it.¬†

Russel Biles
2017
Rake
porcelain
9.5 x 9 x 8‚ÄĚ

ADDITIONAL WORKS

GONE


GONE TOO


CHILD’S PLAY



TAKING A BEATING



RUSSELL BILES


Portrait of artist Russell Biles

FOR MORE

CV

BIO

ABOUT


American, b. 1959
lives and works in Greeneville, SC

A self-described ‚Äúson of the South,‚ÄĚ Russell Biles was born, raised, and still lives in the southern U.S. He remembers playing around with clay at a young age, making animals and monsters, but it was not until he entered college to study architecture that he was re-introduced to art and ultimately to ceramics. Since his graduation Biles has been a studio artist in Greenville, SC, working in sculptural forms that range from large totems reminiscent of Northwestern Indian work to small, carefully crafted, colorful porcelain figures. He is best known for the latter work which confronts the direction in which society is moving and finds it severely lacking. Biles uses such American icons as the Cleavers and the Cartwrights as well as contemporary newsmakers to satirize social, religious, and political issues and to engage the viewer in the discussion. Biles employs irony and satire in his work and believes that the humor inherent in satire tempers the¬† critique and hopefully produces a thoughtful reaction rather than an automatic rejection. As important to Biles as the message is the craftsmanship of his work, the quality that gives the work integrity and cements his position as a noted artist whose work is included in a number of both private and public collections.

Russell Biles, “Canceled”, 2022, porcelain, faux bronze finish (powdered bronze and floor wax), 22 x 11.5 x 9″

ON HIS WORK IN OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

As a child growing up in the 60‚Äôs I enjoyed watching a TV show called The Rifleman. Chuck Conners, the ‚ÄėRifleman‚Äô, justly dispatched 120 bad guys during the show‚Äôs run. As an adult I still enjoy watching ‚ÄúThe Rifleman‚ÄĚ gun em down but no longer feel that sense of Freedom and Security once enforced by the ‚Äėmagical gun‚Äô.

Today I realize that our Country’s Freedom and Security have actually come from the end of a gun and those willing to use this gun in our defense- My concern and motivation for creating Canceled is my fear that today’s and tomorrow’s generations will fail to accept this reality. Thus compromising  our Country’s Freedom and Security.

‚Äď Russel Biles, 2022

CURRENT + RECENT EXHIBITIONS

Ferrin Contemporary presents Paul Scott in "Our America/Whose America?". Installation for NCECA Richmond, 2024 at the Wickham House at The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

Ferrin Contemporary presents Paul Scott in “Our America/Whose America?”. Installation for NCECA Richmond, 2024 at the Wickham House at The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

2024 | Group Exhibition in the Wickham House at the Valentine Museum | Richmond, VA

February 20, 2024 ‚Äď April 21, 2024

Our America/Whose America?¬†Is a ‚Äúcall and response‚ÄĚ exhibition between contemporary artists and historic ceramic objects.

View the exhibition page HERE

Ferrin Contemporary “Our America/Whose America?” Anteroom Stair hall Installation at the Wickham House, Richmond, VA, 2024

Our America/Whose America? Installation View, 2022

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

2022 | Group Exhibition at Ferrin Contemporary | North Adams, MA

Our America/Whose America? Is a ‚Äúcall and response‚ÄĚ exhibition between contemporary artists and historic ceramic objects.

View the exhibition page HERE  & View the historic collection HERE

Our America/Whose America? Installation View, 2022

NEWS & MEDIA

Russell Biles, “Captain America Calling”, 2019

In the Galleries by Mark Jenkins

The Washington Post, December 6th, 2019

Ceramicist Russell Biles musters battalions of small figurines, most of them caricatures of people seen recently on TV news programs. But the most compelling creatures in ‚ÄúSubversive Nature,‚ÄĚ Biles‚Äôs show at the District Clay Gallery, are turtles. The South Carolina artist has a special affinity for the animals, whose patterned shells resemble hard-edge yet delicate porcelain.

Biles calls himself a ‚Äúson of the South,‚ÄĚ but his politics are compatible with those of true-blue Washington. He parodies President Trump, shown hefting a naked porn star, as well as Kim Jong Un and a devil-horned Vladimir Putin. A bust of Barack Obama features a predator drone on his forehead, a protest of the former president‚Äôs sanction of automated assassination. Hundreds of tiny figures, their heads drops of A, B, AB or O, assemble to protest the ban on gay people‚Äôs donation of blood.

Those turtles also bear messages. A beautifully rendered pairing of bloodied turtle and skull-headed eagle is a parable of European colonization of the Americas. Biles also offers a sculpture of a little girl atop a box turtle in which the shell’s pattern has migrated to the child’s face and hands. It’s a vision of rapport with nature that’s also a celebration of human virtuosity.

Russell Biles: Subversive Nature Through Dec. 14, 2019 at District Clay Gallery, 2414 Douglas St. NE.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

INQUIRE


Additional works may be available to acquire, but not listed here.

If interested in lists of all works and series: Send us a message