The Milliken Art Gallery at Converse College will host “Notes from Underground: The Basement Projects” by David Zacharias Nov. 8-Dec. 6. An opening reception, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the gallery. Earlier that afternoon at 3 p.m., the artist will be on hand for a gallery talk, which is also free and open to the public.
For more information, contact the Milliken Art Gallery at (864) 596-9181 or send an e-mail.
A member of the Converse art and design faculty since 1991, Zacharias has taught all levels of ceramics, three dimensional design and, for a time, Art for the Child. This particular exhibit, consisting of 30 ceramic jars, will showcase works completed during a winter and spring sabbatical.
“From January until May, I lived the life of a studio artist. These were some of the best months that I have ever spent,” said Zacharias. “The premise behind the sabbatical was to teach myself how to make larger pieces than I ever have before. This was a challenge because it takes strength to produce large work on the wheel; not only does your skill level need to improve but your strength does as well. The pieces have grown dramatically in scale, and 48 inches is the limit to what the gas kiln at Converse can hold. I maintained a journal/sketchbook throughout which shows progressive improvement in skills, and a clear step-by-step process report that details weights of clay used, assembly methods, critiques of the forms in the damp clay state and indications for improvement.”
In speaking about his work, Zacharias said he finds inspiration from opposites merging together. “All of the pieces involve cylinders, spheres, cones and/or sections of spheres or cones. In the lower sections of most of the jars, there is a concave curve that slowly transcends into a convex curve, and one of the sources of amazement for me is that they are opposites but are coming together with no distinct border of where that occurs. It’s a very sculptural endeavor and functional at the same time. The pieces can be used as jars and they will perform their function well but there are many sculptural aspects from separate forms that go together as well as the denting, bumping and actual surface changes which are put in just when a piece can hold its form.”
Once completing an M.F.A. degree in sculpture and the required hours for one in ceramics at the University of South Carolina, Zacharias worked as a furniture maker and residential renovator for over ten years. Simultaneously, he produced and exhibited sculptures and paintings amassing 12 one person exhibitions and over 20 group exhibitions. In 1996, he received the Kathryne Amelia Brown Award for excellence in teaching at Converse and in 2001, he was the first ever recipient of the O’Herron Faculty Excellence Award.
While maintaining his art production and exhibition record, Zacharias has participated in professional level workshops led by Robert Turner, William Daley, Don Reitz and Ron Meyers. He has also conducted workshops at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC and at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. He is a member of NCECA, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.