Earth and Water 14: Ceramic Art in the St. Croix Valley

JANUARY 19 – FEBRUARY 25, 2018
The Phipps Center for the Arts

Friday, January 19, 6:00 p.m. – Gallery Talk with Ani Kasten, free

Opening reception: Friday, January 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, with artist talk at 6 pm.

Northern Clay Center and The Phipps continue their multi-year partnership aimed at increasing the profile of ceramic artists located throughout the lower St. Croix River Valley watershed. This cross-state collaboration features two to three ceramic artists annually in the Atrium Gallery at The Phipps. In addition, featured artists present an artist talk prior to each opening reception and a workshop or demonstration event. 

Since completing her ceramic training in the UK in 2001, Ani Kasten has developed a unique studio practice in which she draws from her extensive travel experiences of collaborating and working alongside artisans from diverse cultures. Her training in England as well as the five years she spent working in Nepal were a formative influence on Kasten’s ceramics, which draw on minimalist British studio pottery, as well as weathered, hand-made antiquities made by indigenous peoples throughout Asia.

Investigating the materiality of the clay is the foundation for all of Kasten’s sculptures, two-dimensional work, and vessels. Her forms and compositions derive from natural and geological sources, and explore the meeting point of structures evolving from nature and forms wrought by the human hand. Ani’s ceramics integrate both of these sensibilities into composed landscapes. They investigate the nature of change through her use of earth materials, as well as the compiling of ‘hereditary memory’ in her obscured reference to artifacts that once had a purpose, now lost, and a feeling of loss that comes about as a result of inevitable change–the recognition of temporal beauty bound inextricably with grief.

Reflecting nature, Ani’s ceramics incorporate repeated markings and patterns, and explore asymmetry while retaining balance, lightness, and quietude of form. The work is infused with a contemporary aesthetic while at the same time reminding one of an ancient artifact exposed to the rigors of time. They embody the intersection of the rough and the refined, the ugly and the beautiful, forms imbued with extreme fragility and with inner strength, manifesting the contradictions and opposing forces we find in ourselves throughout the human experience.

Questions?  Please contact The Phipps Center at 715.386.2305 or visit

The Phipps Center is located at:
109 Locust St., Hudson, WI 54016