West Liberty University’s Nutting Gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibition of the 2014 – 2015 year, Clay, Metal Cans, and Firewood: Sculpture by Jamey Biggs. The opening reception will take place from 5:30 – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 3 and the exhibition will remain open to the public through Sept. 25.
Biggs is an associate professor of art at Concord University where he has instructed ceramics and sculpture classes for 10 years. His work is primarily ceramic, addressing both sculptural and utilitarian purposes.
“I first saw Jamey’s work in a Facebook post that Lambros Tsuhlares shared with me a while back, “ said WLU Art Professor Robert Villamagna, director of the Nutting Gallery. “The post was a photo of a Tonka-like truck made of clay. That ceramic truck took me back to the 1950s and 60s when I spent hours playing with the metal construction toys made by Buddy L and Tonka. I love the way Jamey exaggerates the components of these vehicles, and makes them even chunkier and heartier than the originals.”
“I began making the trucks in 2012 for an exhibition curated by Robert Moore and Christine Humphrey in Beckley,’ stated Biggs. “I was interested in creating work that would be light hearted in its expression and allow me to be light hearted during its creation. I was hoping to create work that was not explicitly related to my own experience and did not require a great deal of explanation for a viewer to find interest. I hoped that the idea of a toy truck was something that would elicit a response in most people without consideration for age or background.”
Biggs said he also felt it was time for a change in his firing process.
“I was looking for a relief from the wood firing that I had been doing,” stated Biggs. “The wood fire process requires huge amounts of labor on the firing and is inherently very risky and slow. The earthenware fired in oxidation using an electric kiln could not be more opposite of firing in a wood kiln. The trucks do not reject the craft and utility aspects of ceramics but they do poke a bit of fun. The trucks are after all, functioning planters.”
Biggs says that he hopes the first thing the viewers take away from his work is a smile.
“First and foremost the work is playful,” he said. “I hope the piles of materials can evoke connections to hospitality, abundance and humor. I consider the concept of abundance to be a good thing and it is connected to positive emotions, responses and behaviors. The idea of abundance is also connected to notions of scarcity and waste. I am curious to see if viewers find that this is evoked by the work or not.”
He grew up in Summersville, W.Va. and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art and a Bachelor of Science degree in art education. He also completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics at Indiana State University in 2003.
Biggs will present a four-hour workshop on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. A limited number of spaces for participants are available. Contact Robert Villamagna for more information.
All exhibitions at the Nutting Gallery are free and open to the public. The Nutting Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. weekdays; evenings and weekends by arrangement. For additional information contact Villamagna at 304-336-8370 or at [email protected]