Power Objects and Alter Egos
Joanna Powell and Anthony Sonnenberg
2 week course || CER 649 001 || 3 credit hours || Lab Fee: $150
Artists throughout time have constructed symbolic figures and avatars to represent idealized versions of our identities. In this course students will develop alter egos as a means to explore personal, social, and political power dynamics through artistic practice. Unfired clay will act as a material metaphor for identities in flux and anchor more expansive approaches to sculpture, performance, and installation art and act as a point of departure for considering performative and ephemeral approaches to character development and world building. Artists including Caravaggio, David Altmejd, and Walter McConnell will be referenced alongside contemporary drag performance, comics and mythological narratives to present students with a wide range of strategies for constructing characters and environments. No previous knowledge or working experience with clay is necessary for this course, although a willingness to get dirty and take chances will be, take chances and possibly make a fool of oneself will be. Students will create projects using hand-building techniques in combination with found objects and activated through performance and installation contexts.
Joanna Powell (b. 1981, Dallas, TX) holds an MFA from The University of Colorado,Boulder and a BFA from The University of North Texas in Denton. Through installation she contextualizes common objects with personal meaning. Her work is the result of thinking about longing, privacy, history and sexuality. Powell has exhibited her work throughout the United States. Her most recent solo exhibition, Everything belongs to you, was held at the Denison Artspace in Newark, Ohio. She has been a resident artist at The Archie Bray Foundation, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Kansas State University and Denison University. In 2015 she was granted an Emerging Artist award from the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts. Currently she resides in Helena, Montana and is a full-time studio artist and traveling lecturer.
Anthony Sonnenberg was born in Graham, Texas. He holds an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Washington in 2012 and a BA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Art History and Italian from the University of Texas, Austin in 2009. Crowns and candlesticks—things made in the moments just before a crash—are the subject of his work. His sculptural assemblages are made using a range of materials including ceramic, fiber, metal, papercut, drawing, performance, and photography. He has been the recipient of artist residencies at venues including the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Pilchuck Glass School, Yaddo Artist Residency, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, and Lawndale Artist Studio Program. He is the recipient of the 2014 RPF Grant from The New Foundation. His work has been exhibited widely across the United States and his first museum solo exhibition, Still Stage, Set Life took place in 2018 at the Art Museum of South East Texas in Beaumont, TX.