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Susan DeMay Celebrates Retirement with Artist Talk and Reception on August 9

Posted by on Monday, August 5, 2019 in Events, Fine Arts Gallery, HART, Lectures, News, Vanderbilt University, VRC.

susandemayAfter nearly forty years of teaching, Susan DeMay, principal senior lecturer, is celebrating her retirement as a professor in Vanderbilt’s Department of Art. Currently on display in the Fine Arts Gallery in Cohen Memorial Hall, Divergent Practices: A Career in Ceramics, surveys ceramics that DeMay produced over decades of teaching, running her own production line, and creating artwork in clay.

On Friday, August 9, at 5 pm, in her closing artist talk, “Making and Teaching Ceramics: Not Just for Fun,” DeMay will discuss her work and life, expanding on why making and teaching ceramics were not “just for fun”—a phrase she encountered often in her long and multifaceted career. Her talk will be held in Cohen 203, with a reception to follow in the atrium.

On view through September 13, the exhibition showcases selections from three bodies of work that DeMay has developed over the years. The first are pieces made for classroom demonstrations, which underscore technical methods as well as aesthetic considerations. The second group represents the colorful production works that DeMay fabricated while running a pottery business, with the help of as many as nine assistants. The third includes a suite of ceramics that are slab-constructed forms with unique surface treatments and hard, glassy glazes. These artworks are inspired by a wide-ranging set of visual references as well as traditional ceramic practices.

DeMay began pursuing ceramics as a graduate student at what was then known as the George Peabody College for Teachers, where she studied art from 1977 to 1979. After earning her M.S. degree and establishing a pottery studio of her own, she was invited to return to the Vanderbilt campus to teach. Subsequently she earned a second master’s degree (M.A., 1985) at Tennessee Tech’s Appalachian Center for Craft.

SusanDemayHandsHer ceramics have been shown at the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science in Indiana, among other venues. Her production line has been sold at museum stores ranging from the Frist Art Museum and Tennessee State Museum in Nashville to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall at 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Parking is available in Lot 95 on the Peabody campus, accessible from 21st Avenue South.

Gallery hours for the month of  August are Tuesday-Friday, noon to 4 pm; Saturday, 1-5 pm; closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 615.322.0605 (gallery) or 615.343.1702 (office).

*Kinchi Fukumoto. Susan DeMay trimming a bowl in her studio at Peabody College, 35mm slide (reproduction), 1978.

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