The trope of artists who leave their old stomping grounds behind to find a bigger, fuller art scene in a lively city miles away is a tale as old as time.
Colorado State University alumni Qwist Joseph and Lindsey Dezman put that tale to bed, returning a decade later for their exhibit, “Angle of Repose: A Ceramic Exhibition,” in the Clara Hatton Gallery at Colorado State University.
On one hand, the name of the ceramic-based exhibit evokes a sense of wonder and curiosity, but it also explains how ceramics work.
“The name of the exhibit, ‘Angle of Repose,’ is … how certain materials settle at a certain angle,” Joseph said.
The name introduces the stories and inspirations of both Joseph and Dezman. For Joseph, it shares his life and journey as an artist and the making of his work.
Joseph grew up working at his dad’s foundry here in Fort Collins, which was his first introduction to sculpting.
“As I make things, I feel like I jump back and forth from my upbringing,” Joseph said. “This show, to me, is about foundation moments and anchor points of transition.”
“Angle of Repose” isn’t Joseph’s first time showcasing his art. Joseph’s first work was a ceramic sculpture of a donkey, and since then, he has explored everything from abstract expression to simplistic minimalism in his work.
In this regard, Joseph’s artwork reveals his life’s transitions. Many spectators who have followed Joseph’s artistic journey can see this transition.
“Angle of Repose: A Ceramic Exhibition” will be featured in the Clara Hatton Gallery until Dec. 13.
“The historical pot on display is the assignment from the intro to pottery course, and it’s really weird to see it here in the gallery,” said Max Meyer, a senior in the art department with a concentration in pottery. “You associate the exhibit with high-scale things, but showing the road from here to here is really cool.”
While Joseph’s work thematically followed his own personal experiences, Dezman took a different approach, focusing more on her home and garden life.
Using a rustic red pottery aesthetic, Dezman created a connection to nature and her home in her display.
“This is about my gardens and the things within it,” Dezman said. “It’s things that make up my life and where I do my thinking and reminiscing.”
Dezman’s ceramic work was displayed on wood-framed tables that represent the raised garden beds at her home.
On the wall of the exhibit, Dezman hung a series of drawings to depict small household objects. To viewers, this provided a sense of minimalism and simplicity, as well as an understanding of her inspiration.
“I really like the minimalist value: the grass drawings, the latter, it takes the idea of perspective,” Meyer said.
Dezman deliberately set up the exhibit to encourage the viewer to focus not only on the edges of the paper, but the image as a whole.
Both Dezman and Joseph said they truly enjoyed the feeling of returning to CSU where they were most inspired by their art professors while pursuing their degrees.
“It was an exciting opportunity to come back to where I went to school,” Joseph said.
To Dezman, this exhibit was an opportunity to reflect on the development of her work after graduating.
“It allows you to display your artwork to the public and respond to what you think about,” Dezman said. “It means a lot to return to CSU since I’ve graduated.”
Sam Sedoryk can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @samsedoryk.