RICHMOND, Virginia — Michelle Erickson, creator of the “clobbered” Trump mug we featured on Spotted a few issues back, is currently holding a site-specific exhibition in an old colonial plantation house, the Wilton House Museum. You & I are… Earth (Richmond, April 15 to October 30) adorns the beautiful home with Erickson’s sculptural works that recall historical decorative objects while at the same time using them as a platform for social justice. Perhaps saying that the sins of the past are still being visited upon us today, her work can be wry and tragic by turns.
Above image: Erickson ceramics along the back service stairs of the Wilton House Museum. Photograph by Rob Hunter.
From the museum:
Ceramics artist Michelle Erickson was recently invited by Wilton’s Executive Director Keith MacKay and Director of Education William Strollo to organize an exhibit of her historically inspired ceramic works within the period room setting of the eighteenth-century house. Titled You & i are…Earth, the exhibit explores themes of race, culture, and social justice which always run deep in Erickson’s work.
Known internationally for her mastery of historical ceramic techniques, Erickson creates satirical, playful, and poignant statements about contemporary social issues. At first glance, her ceramic works often appear to be whimsical and innocuous concoctions drawn from a rich imagination. However, using materials ranging from Wedgwood’s jasperware to locally dug clays, her audience is treated to layers of multiple meanings in confronting topics such as global warming, corporate and political corruption, and child slavery.
As part of the concluding programming related to the exhibit, a full day’s symposium will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2016, from 9:00AM to 3:00PM. Building on the themes explored in the exhibition, the day’s presentations will reconsider: the ongoing dialog with the colonial past, the discovery and conservation of ceramic objects, the display and exhibition of the decorative arts, the meaning of our historic sites, and the traditional use of ceramics to call for social justice and political stability. The day will include a demonstration by Michelle Erickson, allowing attendees to share in the process of creating her ceramic artwork.
Further information about the exhibit and the symposium can be found here.
Text (edited) and images courtesy of the museum.