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Posts Tagged ‘public art’

Voyage by Sam Gibsh

Sam Gibsh was born in and grew up in Haifa. He obtained an engineering degree in California and earned an MBA at Tel-Aviv University.  He then moved to Boston and worked at an engineering firm for about a decade.   Gibsh abandoned his engineering career to become a full time ceramic artist, and moved back to Israel.  From 2000 to 2006 he was enrolled at the Giveat Haviva Ceramics School in Israel. He also spent five summers at the HCP Studio (2002-2007) where he learned tile-making techniques, methods of glazing, firing and mural installation, particularly from Wasmaa Chorbachi and Nancy Selvage.

In Israel for most of the year, Gibsh owns a ceramic studio located near the port in an old district of Yaffa (Jaffa), overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  His tile work is inspired by features of Yaffa’s old urban landscape; including the steeple of St. George’s Catholic Orthodox Church, clock towers, the lighthouse, Ottoman sabils (fountains) and other historic elements of the ancient port.  In his tiles Gibsh blends natural elements of the region: the water of the bay, palm trees, animals, and birds, with the historical features of the port. 

Sam GibshIn 2007, Gibsh was given a commission by the city of Tel Aviv to create a ceramic mural of 16 square meters to be installed on the outer wall of a new Christian-Muslim high school in Yaffe.  This new school brings back the old tradition of the Ottoman period when many Muslims were educated in Christian schools. In a slide show Gibsh gave at the Studio last summer he described his conception of the mural project as “A Voyage Through Yaffa.”  His training in engineering and construction proved useful.  He explained that the most demanding part of this project was the installation of the mural over the school’s external concrete wall’s surface. Gibsh, prompted by his engineering expertise, requested a careful testing of the wall for strength which did need to be reinforced before the mural could be safely installed.

~Maria Luisa Mansfield, excerpted from Tile Makers in vol 1. number 2, Fall 2008 of Sgraffito the Harvard Ceramics Programs newsletter

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Flow Mural

The Harvard community is fortunate to have Nancy Selvage as the director of the ceramics program, a position she has held since 1978. During this time Selvage has produced a large body of public sculptural and mural work as well as other pieces shown in galleries and museums. She has also written articles and grant proposals, organized many scholarly and hands-on symposia, taught classes at the studio, and attended residencies and meetings in the field.

Selvage began her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College assuming a premed track. Fascinated by art history, she soon decided to pursue a career in art, ultimately earning an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The sciences have, however, continued to wield a strong influence on her creative work, which she has successfully blended in her choice of subject and handling of the material.

One mark of her scientific approach is the meticulous research she does for each project, finding the most appropriate combinations of clays, glazes or other materials, and checking and testing every detail, every creature in a mural, every scientific formula or animal color and shape, every metal or method to be used, so that the finished product will please and endure.

In her impressive body of work, three major pieces stand out, representing her permanent public, ceramic art. In order by date of fabrication, the first is a ceramic tile mural, “Sonoran Snake”, a 50-foot-long rattlesnake whose skin is colorfully decorated with desert animals and plants. Created in 1993, it is attached to a wall leading to the entrance of the Sonora Desert Pavilion at the North Carolina Zoo at Asheboro, North Carolina.

The second is a group of ceramic pieces, created in 2000, for the Canyon View Information Plaza at the Grand Canyon. One part, “Canyon Rim”, is a 3D relief map model of 30 miles of the South Canyon, essentially replicating the topography of the rim area. It interfaces with a floor photo of the Canyon and orients visitors to the area. Another part, “Grand Canyon Camouflage”, consists of 30 low-relief sculptures of plants, animals and fossils that decorate the walls of the orientation building.

The third piece, “Flow”, constructed in 2005, is a ceramic tile mural located on the Science Building at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. It is in the shape of the local Ashuelot River and is a ‘river of scientific knowledge’ elaborately filled with symbols and images from all of the sciences.

In her artists statement she declares:

Nancy SelvageI have always been interested in the overlapping connections and associations between a functional object and the significance of its specific or broader context. A series of plates became embodiments of table manners; a table was inscribed with a litany of food blessings; some map vessels poured specific river systems; the Iraq vessel poured oil; “Wishing Well” pulled the gallery space into a vortex; “Nuclear Home” hovered between cohesion and fallout; a hearth endangered a hunt; one educational mural became a mythic snake ;another became a river of knowledge; a wall animated the streetscape and sheltered the plaza. Whether I start with a plate on a table or a wall in a plaza I work in response to the character and context of that private or public site, with the need to enhance awareness, transform experience, and discover new means of expression.

For images of Selvage’s sculpture click here.

~Suzanne Garen-Fazio, excerpted from vol. 1, number 1 Summer 2008 of Sgraffito, the Harvard Ceramics Program newsletter

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