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NCECA Exhibits: Mary Bowron Selected Works

January 18, 2018

NCECA Exhibits: Mary Bowron Selected Works

Standard Ceramic’s NCECA’s Exhibitions


When the 52nd Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts convenes in Pittsburgh this coming March 14 – 17, Standard Ceramic will transform its facilities into several galleries that will feature exhibitions by noted ceramic artists.  In addition, eight universities will be featured in “pop-up” shipping container galleries on the property.  Standard Ceramic is located

in Carnegie, a nearby community just fifteen minutes from the downtown conference location.  Conference attendees will be able to travel to the site via charter buses and make their way through the galleries, viewing the art and touring Standard’s clay-making and glaze operations, its ClayPlace@Standard gallery space, the Standard Ceramic Supply store, and the company’s offices.  Local musicians will perform throughout the opening, with food and drink provided.


The 2018 conference theme – Crosscurrents: Clay and Culture – will explore sources of inspiration that influence and impact work in ceramics today.  The Standard exhibitions will address this theme.  Over the next several months, we will feature stories about these artists and their shows here on our website.  Visit us often to read about this exciting event.



Mary Bowron: Selected Works

Standard Ceramic’s NCECA exhibitions will include works by the visionary ceramic artist Mary Bowron, who passed away at age 84 in 2017.  The six decades of her work, begun in the 1960s as a young mother seeking an outlet for her creativity, form an extensive archive.  Her works in clay include functional pieces, tiles, and sculpture and represent innovative techniques.  She spent many decades on her 91-acre farm in Boyd, Maryland, and is celebrated for her “Silent Witness” series, over 600 sculptural human heads, each lacking a mouth.




Curator Maureen Barrett has selected pieces from the Bowron archive for the Standard NCECA show.  Ms. Barrett is the president and founder of the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation.  Based in Henderson, Nevada, the foundation sponsors year-round, six-week artist residencies in an old Pennsylvania barn that was relocated to Maine. 


Ms. Barrett has been working with Mary Bowron’s daughter Ellen Bowron since before Mary’s death last autumn.  Ellen says, “We originally chose a group of works based on accessibility for the NCECA audience – woodfired bowls, plates, small sculptures.  But now an exhibit of my mother’s work takes on a different quality.  While the sum total of her work is impossible to represent in this show, it seems important to know her full opus, especially if viewers are not familiar with her.  This will be a task for a lifetime.”




Those familiar with Bowron’s work will expect to see some of her head sculptures from the Silent Witness series, but these will not be included in the NCECA show.  “My mother rarely sold any of her heads, and felt strongly about keeping them together as a community,” Ellen explains.  She has hundreds of them in her mother’s archived studio. 


The Kohler Foundation worked with a collection of over 600 at their Kohler, Wisconsin location, and have distributed collections for placement in a dozen museums including a planned exhibition of over 160 pieces recreating Bowron’s studio gallery.


Even without Bowron’s silent witnesses, this NCECA exhibit will be one not to be missed.


Read a recent e-story about Mary Bowron HERE

Read an interesting essay about the “Silent Witness” collection, held by The Kohler Foundation HERE