The IUP Art Department’s Kipp Gallery will open an exhibit March 10 of works by artist Lee Renninger, titled “Slipstich.”
In her ongoing work, Lee Renninger is exploring clay as fabric and explains, “Ceramic material is inherently dense and inflexible—qualities that have historically recommended it for utility. The transformation of this material into works that are soft and fluid, as well as visually weightless, is only one way of challenging some of the established uses of clay.”
The exhibit will run March 10 through March 27, and gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4:00 p.m. Kipp Gallery is located on the first floor of IUP’s Sprowls Hall at the corner of 11th and Grant streets. Admission is free.
In addition to the exhibit, Renninger will present a talk at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in Delaney Hall room G43, with a reception following in Kipp Gallery.
Renninger is currently living in Gulfport, Mississippi, and did her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Florida. She has recently shown her work at the Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C.; Mississippi Museum of Art.; Mint Museum of Craft and Design in North Carolina; Victoria, Australia; Houghton College, N.Y.; Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; and others. She has been a two-time recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and has also been the artist in residence for McColl Center for the Visual Arts in North Carolina, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, N.M.
General Artist Statement
Much of my work has evolved from a fascination with repeated patterns and multiple units. It is primarily ceramic based, but often incorporates other media in an installation format. Part of my intent is to challenge some of the long-standing beliefs associated with the use of clay: that it is a material confined to the realm of utility or conventional, sculptural forms. I choose to treat it antithetically, using the material in ways that defy its history and fundamental nature.
Currently, I am exploring clay as fabric. Ceramic material is inherently dense and inflexible, qualities that have historically recommended it for utility. The transformation of this material into works that are soft and fluid, as well as visually weightless, is only one way of challenging some of the established uses of clay. Many questions still remain about the possibilities of the material: how it might be used and in what ways it can speak of our time.
Couture Artist Statement
The Couture Project uses fashion as a means to explore questions of personal, political, ethnic, and historic identity. It continues my exploration of clay as fabric through ceramic- and fiber-based installations. The works of designers such as Balenciaga, Ghesquiere, and Gautier serve as the inspiration for these works, some complete garments and some fragments (partial garments) made of porcelain units and fiber, combined with other objects or materials when appropriate.
My primary interest is in creating works that mimic the visual models they are based on but defy utility. These works address—albeit somewhat subversively—issues of identity within larger personal and cultural contexts. I’ve chosen couture fashion as a metaphorical bridge because it exemplifies the blurring of historical lines between art and popular culture and serves as an effective platform for the issues and materials I am exploring.