Clay exhibit visually striking

Through Sept. 21, the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in Brodie Hall is hosting a Clay Symposium Exhibition featuring artists from SUNY schools as well as several Rochester-based colleges and universities. The exhibit features a variety of pieces in a range of styles, each representative of the unique perspectives and inspirations of the talented individuals who created them.

Carl Shanahan, a Geneseo art professor, has four pieces: two "Tea Pot Wall Hangings" and two "Tea Pot Forms." The "Wall Hangings" resemble door knockers and have a textured, organic appearance.

Shanahan also used earth-tone colors and glazes, creating a primitive and beautiful design - the effect is like looking at an ancestor of the modern teapot. His "Tea Pot Forms" evoke the next evolutionary state of his "Wall Hangings," composed of standing pieces with several legs to support them.­

Lori Mills, associate professor of art at SUNY Brockport, also has several pieces at the Clay Symposium. One of her starkest submissions is the series entitled "Remains," consisting of nine crude, body-like figures without heads. Each form exudes mutilation, some seem almost burned depending on their coloration, and none possess any distinguishing characteristics. This absence of individuality in death leaves the observer with a sense of unease, especially in light of several of the issues plaguing society today.

An additional member of the SUNY Brockport faculty, associate professor and Art Department Chair Phyllis Kloda, submitted to the symposium as well. One of her most beautiful and interesting contributions is "Heavenly Dish," which is a large bowl positioned high on a marble pedestal. Kloda adorned the exterior with paintings of smiling female faces and numerous types of food. Several full-body angels with wings surround the outside of the bowl, each strikingly dressed in modern clothing such as knee-high spike heeled boots and leopard print shawls. The depiction of women in "Heavenly Dish" possibly speaks to the condition of women in America and the extent to which they have claimed a new sense of self-realization in today's society.

Two more memorable pieces in the Clay Symposium come from Mitch Messina, associate professor of art at Nazareth College in Rochester. His two creations, "COG" and "Turbine," are in the same vein, speaking to the ever-decreasing importance of individuals in the machine of modern society. The base of "COG" is a thick, metallic cylinder inlaid with several rust-colored pegs. Atop this section stand three figures of faceless, nude men, each colored white with black outlines, their heads bent forward in exhaustion and defeat as they hold several large stones upon their shoulders. "Turbine" has a similar design, only on a larger scale: Many figures of the same faceless men line the inside of an old turbine, hands folded over their chests almost as in death.

The Lederer Gallery is open from noon until 4 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and features these as well as many other talented artists from SUNY schools and the Rochester area.