Each year the Virginia A. Groot Foundation selects three artists from its pool of applicants for three grants up to $35,000, $10,000, and $5,000. The foundation offers one of the most generous ceramic grants in the United States and attracts the best of emerging and established talent world wide. It has provided support to some of the field’s top artists including Sunkoo Yuh (2014), Adelaide Paul (2011), Beth Cavener Stichter (2005), Akio Takamori (2001), and Doug Jeck (1997,1998). The grant was established in 1988 to give sculpture artists “the opportunity to devote a substantial period of time to the development of his or her work.”
Above Image: First Place winner of the 2015 Virginia A. Groot Award Ryan LaBar with Made in China, 52in.x47in.x30in., ceramic
LaBar, this year’s top winner, was the Program Director at LH Project in Joseph, OR, until 2014. He now lives and works in Portland, OR, where he will be using the funds to set up a studio and establish production connections in Jingdezhen, China, this coming fall.
In his statement, LaBar describes his process:
“Working with clay, I fabricate individual and wheel thrown elements. These, together with other clay parts, are carefully stacked on top of each other to compose a layered and woven structure. Each element counterbalances the position of another. These precarious constructs are placed in a kiln, and the heat of the kiln melts and moves the clay and glaze. The clay parts deform as the material softens. Tensions are released, causing the system to undergo a domino effect best described as a cascading failure where the failure of one part triggers the failure of successive parts. As the firing progresses, the movement quiets and the system of parts reach equilibrium and become a singular and rested whole.”
This year’s award comes just three months after the passing of Candice Groot, a central supporter, collector and philanthropist of the ceramic arts and founder of the Virginia A. Groot Foundation. Learn more about the foundation at virginiaagrootfoundation.org.
Justin Crowe is a Writer and Director of Operations at CFile.
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