PICKENS – Surfaces and Spaces: Photography of Cecelia Feld & Bruce Schlein will open June 27 at the Pickens County Museum of Art & History along with Ancient Forms, Modern Minds: Contemporary Cherokee Ceramics, focusing on the works of 11 contemporary Cherokee potters.
A reception will be held for both from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. opening day. Both exhibits will be on display through Aug. 20.
The exhibit of photographs is a compilation of work based on a shared interest by Feld and Schlein in what people write on pavements, walls and fences. The focus is on how people decorate their environments and how light transforms a scene, influencing our perception of the scene.
The Cherokee have been making pottery in Western North Carolina for almost 3,000 years. Though nearly disappearing in the 19th century, the tradition survived, emerging as a contemporary art form enriched by the Cherokee artists who have carefully preserved and passed on their practice from one generation to the next.
For the first 2,000 years of the tradition, Cherokee potters created large, thin-walled, waterproof pots that were stamped with geometric designs.
But early in the 20th century this style was almost entirely replaced by the production of heavier pottery, termed blackware, which was incised rather than stamped, a style common to the Catawba, Pueblo and Navajo tribes at that time.
Though heavily influenced by these other Native American traditions, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians developed their own techniques. Commonly referred to as the traditional style, this work persisted as the dominant form for the duration of the 20th century.
It was not until the beginning of the 21st century that Cherokee potters revived the historic, thin-walled pottery style. Also during the present century, a third category of artists working in a contemporary style emerged producing highly decorated and glazed ceramic works. Many of these artists utilize the Cherokee syllabary or other Cherokee symbols in their work.
The museum, located at 307 Johnson St. in Pickens, is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcomed.
Visit www.pickenscountymuseum.org for more information.