Eleven McKnight Artists

JULY 2 – AUGUST 22, 2021
Main Gallery & Galusha Gallery

In 2021, the Center’s annual McKnight Artist exhibition will provide the unique opportunity to view a comprehensive installation featuring works by grantees of the past two years. Select works by recipients of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists will be on display. Featured are 2020 recipients Andrea Leila Denecke (Scandia, Minnesota) and Brad Menninga (St. Paul, Minnesota), as well as 2019 recipients Kelly Connole (Northfield, Minnesota) and Guillermo Guardia (Saint Paul, Minnesota).

Also represented will be works created by recipients of the McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists. Featured artists include 2019 recipients Pattie Chalmers (Illinois), Rebecca Chappell (Pennsylvania), and Marcelino Puig-Pastrana (Puerto Rico); as well as 2018 recipients Ted Adler (Kansas), Alessandro Gallo (Montana), Hidemi Tokutake (Japan), and Leandra Urrutia (Tennessee). This exhibition is supported by the McKnight Foundation and showcases the success of each artist’s fellowship or residency.

About the Artists

Ted Adler has been teaching at Wichita State University since 2005, having taught previously at Northern Arizona University’s School of Art in Flagstaff. Adler received his BA from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and his MFA from Ohio State University in Athens, Ohio. He has studied with internationally-respected artists and has served as a long-term resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. Adler connects strongly with his interest in exploring the materiality of clay and its relationship to metaphor. He has exhibited work, conducted workshops, and served as visiting artist at numerous ceramic centers and universities in the United States and around the world. Using the vessel as an analogy for selfhood, he elicits a sense that our relationships to ourselves and the world around us are more tenuous that we ordinarily prefer to admit.

Pattie Chalmers utilizes a variety of approaches during the making process to create tableaux as an expression of a two-dimensional narrative space made three-dimensional. With fabrications depicting a shrinking of the distance between fact and fiction, her works visualize accounts from varying experiences that are amalgamated to reflect the flux of how things are remembered. Chalmers received her BFA in printmaking from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada in 1993 and her MFA in ceramics from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in 2001. Transitioning from the role of student to teacher, she began work as an instructor shortly after completing her MFA. Having taught at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Ohio University in Athens, she has been an associate professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois since 2006. In addition to these sustained posts, Chalmers has led myriad lectures and workshops at art centers, universities, and institutions spanning the United States and additionally in both Canada and Hungary.

Rebecca Chappell received her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2008 and her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2003. Her work embraces directness in its use of earthenware and bold, unapologetic colors. The combination of the two is an appropriate complement to her forms, which are highly evolved yet retain a delicious primitiveness. Chappell has participated in solo and group exhibitions across the US. She was awarded the Evelyn Shapiro Foundation Fellowship in 2010 and her work is part of the renowned Rosenfield Collection. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was a resident artist from 2010 – 2015 at The Clay Studio. She currently teaches a community class at The Clay Studio and at Maryland Institute College of Art for eight years.

Kelly Connole received her BFA from the University of Montana in Missoula and her MFA from San Francisco State University. Connole addresses relationships within environments: natural and constructed, human and animal, by combining the tactile nature of clay with memories and emotions. In addition to her participation in solo and group exhibitions across the country, Connole has been named the recipient of numerous grants and awards by organizations including the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and previously by the McKnight Foundation as a Resident Artist. Additionally, she has authored numerous articles, essays, and reviews for publication, and has taught at an array of art centers and universities including her current position as professor of art at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Andrea Leila Denecke received her BA in Art and German from Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa in 1972, Diploma with honors from Tekisui Museum of Art Ceramic Art Research Institute, Ashiya, Japan in 1986, MFA in studio art from Louisiana State University, Baton Rougein 1989, and certification from the Institute for Public Art and Design from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minnesota in 1998. Denecke’s work is reminiscent of historical tools and structures, and powerful in its simplicity. Her work presents the viewer with an island of tranquility for contemplation. Denecke has been recognized with myriad awards and honors including the Jerome Residency Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park in 2003, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in 2008 and 2013, McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists in 2004 and 2008, and a 1991 commission through the Minneapolis Arts Commission to create and construct the installation Stele Mississippi for the Ibaraki City Municipal Library, Japan.

Alessandro Gallo has a diverse background that encompasses studies in law, painting, photography, and ceramics. Gallo represents the silent life of his surroundings and the stories of the people inhabiting them by creating human/animal hybrids, employing animal heads as an expressive tool to exaggerate the interior lives of each subject. Having ventured into the exploration of clay in 2005, Gallo began to compose his anthropomorphic characters and received widespread recognition for his work. He was featured in the 237th Annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London as well as the 54th Venice Biennale of 2011. Gallo continued to receive acclaim when he was named recipient of a Virginia A. Groot Foundation award in 2012, and as the focus of solo shows in 2014 and 2016 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York.

Guillermo Guardia draws inspiration from art history, his upbringing in Peru, Catholicism, his transition to living in the United States, and political events to create both figurative sculptures and functional pottery. He received his BFA in industrial design from Pontifical Catholic University in Lima, Peru and both his MFA and MS in industrial technology from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Guardia has exhibited nationally and was awarded a fellowship from North Dakota Council on the Arts and a residency at the North Dakota Museum of Art. His work is in the permanent collections of the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, and Fundación Puntos de Ecuentro in Bogota, Columbia. In 2020, he was named a recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Brad Menninga received his BA in Politics from Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) in 1992 and his MFA from California College of the Arts (San Francisco) in 2010. Menninga explores continuity and disruptions between past and present through his work by referencing and reimagining neoclassical forms of the Enlightenment era while simultaneously employing techniques of various periods in ceramic history. He has published with Ceramic Arts Daily and Pottery Making Illustrated, and facilitated activist art making workshops through the Portland, Oregon chapters of Jobs with Justice and Art & Revolution. Menninga has been included in collective installations at the Walters Cultural Art Center, Hillsboro, Oregon, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, and created solo installations at the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota and at the 2019 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference (St. Paul, Minnesota). He currently resides within his 2020 Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant supported period room installation: The Life and Legacy of Gijsbert van Engelenhoven.

Marcelino Puig-Pastrana utilizes clay to explore cyclical themes of growth, decay, and transformation and ideas of both regeneration and an object’s tactile memory. Seeking to make an unequivocal affirmation of life in its interconnectedness and its endless possibility for renewal, he continues in his pursuit to resolve myriad questions and emotions that surged to the forefront of his work following Hurricane Maria’s impact on his community. Puig-Pastrana received his BFA and BA in art history in 2000 from Fordham University in New York, and has additionally trained in the areas of dance, drawing, painting, and printmaking, as well as both lighting and graphic design. In 1992, he was a recipient of a young artist grant in choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2017 he was a finalist with honorary mention in the 39th International Competition of Ceramic Art, Gualdo Tadino, Italy. Currently, Puig-Pastrana is developing new bodies of work in drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics at the Universidad de Puerto Rico and Casa Candina Ceramics Atelier, where he also serves as an Atelier Assistant and Drawing Instructor.

Hidemi Tokutake began her ceramic studies at the Seto Ceramic School in Seto, Japan. From this rich and historical base, Tokutake moved to Australia in 2003 where she studied at the National Art School in Sydney to complete her master’s degree in ceramics. She later became a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. While she currently works and resides in Sydney, Tokutake has completed residencies at various locations across the United States and in Denmark, and has exhibited at venues in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, China, Turkey, Indonesia, and the United States. Creating works that echo the patterns found in nature, Tokutake embraces the presence of touch by allowing her finger marks to remain on the finished works which appear as organic forms interpreted in an Abstract Expressionist style.

Leandra Urrutia earned her BFA in drawing and ceramics from Texas State University in San Marcos, and her MFA in ceramics from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In 2007, she was honored as an Emerging Artist by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Louisville, Kentucky, and in 2014 she was the recipient of the Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration in Memphis, Tennessee. Beginning in 2002, Urrutia served as associate professor of studio art at Memphis College of Art, leading beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in clay sculpture and idea development. In addition to exhibiting her work at national and international venues, she is one of the co-founding members of the Studio Nong Collective, an ongoing international residency program comprising American and Chinese artist-educators invested in creative, cultural, and community exchange.

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