Two Pittsburgh artists will bring their work to ClayPlace@Standard for "A Layered Approach," a joint exhibition this coming October. Philip M. Soucy and Brian Peters share a similar technique of stacking clay coils but have a vastly different approach to the method. Soucy’s organic works are built by hand; Peters’ precise pieces are created using a 3-D printer. Each reveals a respect and affection for the material and creates pieces that challenge our ideas about humanity’s history of building and altering its environment.
Philip M. Soucy is a 2015 Ceramics graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. He later earned a Master of Fine Art degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2019. He uses the coil technique in creating his works, forgoing the smoothing process to expose the structural element of the coil. He explains, “The hand-rolling part is very important to me – the piling of one on top of the other.” He describes imagining the rows of sediment in the walls of the Grand Canyon as he works. “It really gets me going,” he says, because you can see time. You can use your imagination to see what was happening at various times that the layers were created.” He speaks of a sense of history as he works, pointing out that the earth and clay were humans’ first method of construction. He purposely leaves his fingerprints on the pieces as a time stamp of his presence. He ponders the human activity of accumulating – amassing layers of things and experiences – that comes to define us.
Brian Peters is also intrigued by the layering process. With degrees in Studio Art and Architecture from the University of Illinois Chicago, he left his job at an architectural firm to study at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona. While working with an experimental group of artists in Amsterdam, he began his work in 3-D printing in clay. He is a seminal developer of the process and continues to design and build new printers. The process is essentially coil building, with a wet clay fed into the printer and extruded in layers. The designs are carefully conceived and coded beforehand. Peters creates large architectural installation pieces and sculptures along with smaller functional interior design works. As in Soucy’s work, the structural element of the layers is apparent in the finished pieces. Peters’ work reflects his curiosity about natural forms and patterns, his influences from time studying and living in Europe, and his perspective on contemporary ceramics.
Both Peters and Soucy plan to bring new pieces to the ClayPlace show. Soucy is working on some large bowls and vases that explore the horizontal and play with the concept of gravity. Peters will bring a few large wall pieces from his Metamorphosis collection and new sculptural vessel work. He recently built an innovative printer that allows him to work simultaneously with two clay bodies of two different colors, interweaving them to express forms and patterns. Visitors will enjoy seeing these two artists side-by-side, comparing their techniques and ideas.
The exhibition will open on October 22 with a gathering that evening and will run during regular hours through the end of the year.