In the ceramics world, Wayne Higby is widely considered one of the most important artists of the past 50 years. But he doesn't let it go to his head. When asked what he thinks about his place in the history of art, he laughs, saying in many ways he still feels like a child sticking his finger into a ball of clay.
Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby, curated by Peter Held, is opening this weekend at ASU Art Museum, and on Saturday at 1 p.m., Higby will give a lecture on his work that is free and open to the public.
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ASU's Curator of Ceramics, Peter Held, says he first met Higby at a workshop when he was an undergraduate in college. About three years ago, he began working on Infinite Place, which is the first major retrospective exhibition of Higby's work.
When asked about having his first retrospective, Higby says, "it's sort of like I'm standing in a mirrored box; I can just see myself all around." But he also talks about seeing the continuities over time, even though he hasn't seen some of the pieces for 40 years or more.
The pieces themselves are a survey of both ceramic objects and drawings by the artist, that track form and technique over time. Higby admits the influence of landscape and memory in his pieces, but he also says that his work is meant to be a vehicle for imagination. He adds that if he could have one superpower it would be that of unlimited imagination
Though Higby now lives on the East Coast (he's been working as a teacher at Alfred University for the past 40 years), he grew up in Colorado and remembers taking family trips to Phoenix as a child. He says that the ASU Art Museum really is the perfect place for this exhibition because it is located in the Southwest and is connected to a University -- both things are intertwined with Higby's personal history.
Higby says that though the title of the show Infinite Place is something of an oxymoron, it really does describe what he is after in his work. After leaving ASU, the exhibition will travel for two years making stops at several museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Wayne Higby will be giving a lecture this Saturday, April 27th from 1 to 2 p.m. at ASU's Coor Hall. A reception and book signing will follow in the gallery. The exhibition Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby will be on view at the ASU Art Museum through July 20.
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