Arts & Entertainment: Pushing the boundaries of ceramic art

// Chad Gunderson at Kittredge Gallery

  • PHILOSOPHERS' STONE. Chad Gunderson's "Specimen 23" is made of solid cast glaze. It is one of dozens of such works currently on display at UPS's Kittredge Gallery. (Photo courtesy of Kittredge Gallery)

Chad Gunderson is the newest member of the University of Puget Sound’s art faculty. Brought on board to teach ceramics, Gunderson is currently the featured artist in a one-man show at the school’s Kittredge Gallery.

Entitled “I Like Rocks!” the show consists of a prolific assortment of colorful, abstract objects that are made entirely of ceramic glaze. Don’t expect to see pretty clay pots at this show. Gunderson casts just glaze to produce organic forms that are usually colored with acrylic and/or spray paint. Most of these “Specimens” (as Gunderson calls them) are displayed at the center of white, porcelain disks that hang on the gallery walls. Many of the specimens resemble geological mineral samples like pumice stone marked with deep cavities. Some resemble torn sponges, fragments of sea corals, chunks of liver or hunks of bread. Some erupt with bulbous tumors that are painted in garish hues. Some have deep craters that are edged with paint. The artist cites such disparate elements as igneous rock, Chinese scholars’ stones, Lego bricks and vintage Tupperware as sources of inspiration.

Gunderson joined the UPS faculty last August. He has also taught at Bennington College in Vermont, at Brooklyn College and at Arizona State University (which is where he earned his M.F.A.).

In addition to his own show in Kittredge’s “Large Gallery,” Gunderson curated the show in the “Small Gallery.” For this charming little exhibit, he chose objects from the university’s ceramics collection that are notable for having pushed the boundaries of ceramic art at the time they were made. Here one may encounter the brilliant Patti Warashina (who recently had a major retrospective at Bellevue Art Museum), the funky Clayton Bailey and the quirky David Gilhooly among others.

“I Like Rocks!” runs through March 1. For further information visit


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