Sleight of Hand
Oct 23, 2020
Jan 22, 2021
Photo courtesy of the artist.
FRONT & CENTER
Front & center
Sleight of hand
a: a cleverly executed trick or deception
b: a conjuring trick requiring manual dexterity
Sleight of Hand brings together eleven works by six contemporary artists of color working in ceramics who use humor as a tool to navigate a range of pressing social issues. For these artists, humor is not merely an aesthetic choice; it is also a tool of resistance, resilience, and healing. The deliberate use of humor in ceramics traces back to the 1950s and 1960s Bay Area Funk art. However, in recent years, a younger and far more diverse generation of artists has revitalized this artistic strategy. This exhibition highlights this critical shift in the field of ceramics through the lens of artists of color. While the exhibition focuses on clay, the objects on display point to an expanded field that moves beyond sculpture to include video and paintings featuring ceramics.
As the exhibition title suggests, the exhibiting artists use their hands to produce visual illusions out of clay that, while cheery on the surface, can carry serious undertones. Humor is inherently deceptive, often the result of an exaggerated truth or a cunning trick that lends levity and clarity to subjects that are taboo or otherwise difficult to discuss. Strategies of irreverence, irony, absurdity, and cuteness are employed in Sleight of Hand to subversively establish accessible platforms for dialogue and engagement with profound and complicated narratives.
Online visitors can register to attend a virtual tour of this exhibition. Tour is scheduled for Thursday, December 3rd, 6-7 pm EST. This is a free event. A $5-10 donation at time of registration is recommended.
The Center is offering free, unguided visits and affordable tours of its exhibitions to the public. Guests can reserve a 30-minute visit to explore the current exhibitions, learn more about the Center’s national impact in their Craft Research Fund Study Collection, and enjoy interactive activities. The Center is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 12-6 pm. Hours of operation may be subject to change.
Center for Craft is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the community and following the instruction of federal, state, and local health departments. Our top priority is always the health and safety of our staff, coworkers, and visitors. At this time, the Center can only allow a maximum of five guests in its public space at once and will require the use of masks or face coverings by all visitors, including children. The Center reserves the right to refuse entry to any visitor that will not comply.
about the artists
Since its inception in 1964, the North Carolina Arts Council has imagined and executed an innovative vision for arts development that touches every corner of our state — all 100 counties — from the mountains to the coast.
UNC Asheville transforms lives through leadership and education. The designated liberal arts and sciences institution for the UNC System and one of the nation’s top 10 public liberal arts universities, UNC Asheville enrolls 3,600 students and offers more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree. UNC Asheville also encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning. From internships and hands-on projects, to study abroad and community engagement, students experience an education that extends beyond campus into the vibrant City of Asheville, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the world.
A liberal arts college grounded in social responsibility, where hard work and community are more than just words.
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