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    Palitz Gallery presents Painting in Clay: The Fired Landscapes of Margie Hughto

    November 30, 2015

    Palitz Gallery presents Painting in Clay: The Fired Landscapes of Margie Hughto; includes new work and runs November 23 through February 4, 2016


    Margie Hughto sitting with her Palitz Gallery installation Setting Sun.


    Painting in Clay: The Fired Landscapes of Margie Hughto at Palitz Gallery features new work by the internationally recognized artist as well as a selection highlighting her long and varied career in ceramic art. The exhibition is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will run through February 4, 2016. It will be closed from November 26 – 28, 2015 and again from December 24 – January 2, 2016. It is free and open to the public. Contact 212-826-0320 or for more information.

    Painting in Clay: The Fired Landscapes of Margie Hughto is the artist’s first retrospective exhibition and includes a selection of new works as well as examples from her major public commissions and the nationally recognized project New Works in Clay. A study for Trade, Treasure and Travel, which resides at the Cortlandt Street NYC subway station, will also be on display.

    Ancient Gateway
    Margie Hughto, Ancient Gateway, 2011

    A centerpiece of the Palitz Gallery show is the U-shaped installation Setting Sun, that has not been exhibited before this display. "This artwork was not a public art project," says ceramic artist Margie Hughto. "It was an artwork I wanted to create. It is inspired by my beautiful Central NY environment." And through the use of plants from her own garden that were pressed into the clay, Hughto brings the personal sights from her home to viewers, while the colors are inspired by the passage of time and light on the water.               

    Hughto uses a painterly approach when working in ceramics. "I don’t always know exactly where I’m going as I push, press, and break the clay and later, layer slips and glazes over and over again," says Hughto. "I stay with it, trying to take advantage of gesture and the potency of the ceramic medium and glazed surfaces."

    A lot of the artist's works are quite large so Hughto creates ceramic models working on a scale of one-inch equals one foot. This provides her with an opportunity to create a series of clay sketches. "When it is time to work at large scale, I need to have studio assistants to prepare the clay into large slabs or tiles," says Hughto.  "I make many parts or elements for several days. The elements are glazed and then I carefully combine the elements into one large-scale work. The colors, glaze surfaces, and textures embedded in the clay play a large role in the entire works. Often there is a narrative or geological reference in my artworks."

    At present we live in a time where art can be made with any material which prompts the artist to reflect. "When I was in graduate school, there was a great discussion about Craft vs. Art. Clay was what I called a third-rate citizen," says Hughto. "Certain galleries only exhibited painting and sculpture, and then there were galleries with clay, fiber and glass. I think these boundaries no longer exist. Last year, there were several ceramic art works in the Whitney Biennale. We often see clay in installations and conceptual works. Many times, the clay is left in its unfired state."

    "When I was introduced to the ceramic medium, I fell in love with the immediacy of the clay and the mystery and excitement of the glazes and firing kilns," says Hughto who was not exposed to ceramic artwork until becoming an art education major at SUNY Buffalo. "I still love to open the kiln and see the final results of the firing."

    Setting Sun image
    Margie Hughto, Setting Sun, panel 3

    Margie Hughto is a member of the faculty at Syracuse University where she has taught for over 40 years in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.  In addition to her teaching and numerous public commissions, Ms Hughto has served as curator at the Everson Museum of Art, was the founding director of the Syracuse Clay Institute, and the organizer of New Works in Clay, a collaborative program that brought artists, curators and critics to Syracuse University including Helen Frankenthaler, Anthony Caro, and Clement Greenberg.

    Additional programing will include a special lecture with the artist and Sandra Bloodworth, Director of the award-winning public art program MTA Arts & Design and author of Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit on February 3 at 6:00 p.m. at the Syracuse University Lubin House. More information can be found at once it becomes available.