Arts Galleries

Blue Spiral 1 Showcases the Functional, Fantastical

Margarita cups. Sara Ballek, artist

By Natasha Anderson

With four new exhibits, Blue Spiral 1 offers a myriad of works that elevate everyday spaces and objects as well as those that explore the unfamiliar. The shows begin with an opening reception Friday, November 3, from 5–7 p.m. and run through December 27.

Margarita cups. Sara Ballek, artist

The annual Ceramics Invitational, in the Main Level Gallery, highlights 24 artists working in clay. The featured works are functional, sculptural and figurative, each possessing a distinct clay-body, firing process or glazing technique. Collectively, the artworks demonstrate the versatility of clay, and the many ways that the medium can uniquely take shape.

“The pieces I have been making for this exhibition are all functional forms, meant to be filled up, used and to be a part of one’s daily rituals or more occasional moments,” says Sara Ballek, whose work is influenced by her appreciation for the ‘60s and ‘70s. “Some of my work will feature more familiar forms that I have made or have visited making before. There will also be some completely different forms that I worked on specifically for this show.”

Garden Bandit. Lynne Hobaica and Rickie Barnett, artists

In the Small Format Gallery, multidisciplinary artists Lynne Hobaica and Rickie Barnett come together in Shared Stories to exhibit their individual and collaborative works. In this exhibition viewers will find everything from a woodland creature riding a masked chicken to a toothy, beaked monster clutching a sandwich. Their explorations include quilts, paintings and ceramic sculptures, each medium narrative in nature. Influenced by one another’s aesthetics, Hobaica and Barnett employ humor and playfulness in their work, while also speaking to the profound themes of life’s fragility and the weighted emotions that accompany it.

“Our collaborative process is simple,” says Hobaica. “One of us initiates a project, and then we pass it back and forth, resulting in a truly harmonious evolution of a piece.”

Hobaica’s ceramic surfaces and layering techniques have inspired Barnett to embrace more playfulness and looseness in his art, while Barnett’s meticulous attention to detail has pushed Hobaica to hone in on and refine her building and drawing techniques. As the two work on both individual and collaborative pieces, they constantly check in with each other to determine how a piece should move forward.

“Nothing leaves our studio without our shared input, whether it’s a collaboration or not,” says Barnett.

Bathroom Interior. Peter Van Dyck, artist

In the Showcase Gallery, Peter Van Dyck delves into the ordinary: transforming bathroom interiors, studio windowsills and two-car garages into creatively observed environments. The Philadelphia-based painter deftly manipulates the Cartesian plane, skewing the x- and y-axes to craft a perspective that is as expressive as it is unconventional. His draftsmanship shows through delineated regions of paint juxtaposed by loose brushstrokes. This push and pull results in an alchemy of gesture and focused resolution that depicts the environments we find most familiar.

Inside and Out, a group exhibition in the Lower Level Gallery, sheds light on the nature of interiority within built structures. Featured artwork includes ceramic sculptures, graphite drawings, digital photography and paintings. Each depicted space, from an abandoned barbershop to an abstracted architectural plan, reminds us that interiors and exteriors are not just physical constructs but also vessels of memories, emotions and histories.

“My work explores the theme of failure and lost opportunity and why something can make it and something else can’t,” says photographer Bill Green. “It’s definitely a theme found throughout this country and in life in general.”

Learn more at

Leave a Comment