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Mountain Home Magazine

Ceramic Landscapes at The Rockwell Museum

Apr 25, 2018 07:49PM

Though Alfred University’s Professor Wayne Higby is known the world over as a ceramic landscape artist, he says his work is “a meditation on the relationship between mind and matter” and is “not about landscape.”

However, his upcoming show at The Rockwell Museum is characterized as “geology meets chemistry in ceramic landscapes...” Both are thought-provoking statements, not mutually exclusive, and well worth exploring. That can happen, beginning May 18, when the artist and his work will be on hand at 111 Cedar Street, Corning, starting at 5:30, for the opening of Wayne Higby: Forging a New American Landscape.

“As the director and chief curator of the new Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, I am particularly happy to connect our museum here at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, with the Rockwell Museum of Art in Corning, and to the Corning community,” says Professor Higby. “Our two museums have begun a wonderful friendship through the important opportunity extended to me as an artist. A solo exhibition of my art at the Rockwell is a singular honor.”

“We are lucky to have him as a regional resource,” says Brian Whisenhunt, The Rockwell Museum’s executive director. “He’s been exploring landscapes for so long. There is a direct line between what he’s doing now and what American artists have been doing for centuries. We can really engage viewers with these objects.”

Wayne Higby was born and grew up in Colorado, graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder and from the University of Michigan. He has taught at Alfred State University since 1973, where today he is the Robert C. Turner Chair of Ceramic Art and the director and chief curator of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum. Professor Higby (above) is also vice president emeritus of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva, Switzerland; honorary professor of art at Shanghai University; and has earned the Distinguished Educator Award from the Smithsonian, of which the Rockwell Museum is an affiliate.

"Some of his work is in our permanent collection, too," notes Brian.

The exhibit at The Rockwell Museum, which runs through September 4, will explore Professor Higby's forms, techniques, and firing processes.

The following week, on May 23 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Professor Higby and glass landscape artist Richard Parrish will co-host a panel discussion entitled "New Perspectives on American Landscape." Brian will moderate.

Registration for the May 18 opening is requested by May 17. The opening is free for museum members; tickets for not-yet members are just ten dollars. The Rockwell Museum's eclectic calendar of events is updated regularly at www.rockwellmuseum.org, or call (607) 937-5386. Don't miss the Wayne Higby exhibit or the opportunity to learn about how he creates what he calls "a place full of silent, empty space where finite and infinite, intimate and immense intersect."

"My upcoming exhibition is especially meaningful to me, because of The Rockwell Museum's roots in an excellent collection of art representing the American West," notes Professor Higby. "Although my work is not always about a specific place and often not at all about the American West, I grew up in the American West and the panoramic space of the western earth and sky has inspirited in me a longing for the poetic ideals of the American landscape."