Nikki Blair – guest artist
Nikki Blair is currently an Associate Professor in Ceramics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Nikki Blair received her MFA from Ohio University and her BFA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
She has exhibited in both museums and galleries across the country including Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT, Eutectic Gallery, Portland, OR, Cross Mackenzie Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Kendall Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI, The Harbor Gallery in Boston, MA, The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, Baltimore Clay Works in Baltimore, MD, and Spaces in Cleveland, OH. She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME, the Guldagergarrd International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark, Galeria Estudio in Barcelona Spain, The Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, and The International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary.
Nikki's work harks back to the shiny bright futurism of post WWII architecture and product design. That period’s most forward thinking designers created a world full of fantastical curves, extravagant rooflines, beautiful colors, and innovative materials. Plastics, glass, neon employed in both kitsch and high art became integral to the design language of America in particular, but resonated internationally and are still admired today.
With that undercurrent, she has returned to exploring pure design elements —line, form, color – in the guise of the vessel. These pieces are functional in theory, but what someone would put in them is another question entirely and that is an interesting question to me. The forms are off-kilter, constructed from slabs that are patchworked together. They rest, albeit a bit sullenly, on display surfaces. The pieces “sit” in ways that are gestural and suggestive. They are vaguely inflated or deflated. They have bodily qualities that refer back to my earlier work, much of which alluded to medical or sexual devices. In their pure formalism though, they are much slyer. I strive to seduce the viewer with their attractiveness, and then, upon closer study, reveal sophisticated awkwardnesses. They are pieces of baggage. Containers for flowers. Perhaps these are forms in which to temporarily put our psychological burdens while we enjoy looking at them.
Greensboro, North Carolina