The exhibit in Building 11, called “Generous,” features a piece titled “Capacious” that shows a violent scene — an angry bear about to devour a group of owls. Artist Leanne McClurg Cambric wove ordinary objects, a quilt and some cups, into her creation. “It’s a combination of being cute and also sinister,” Cambric said.
At first, “Capacious” looks like a simple quilt hanging on the wall with a row of cups on a shelf. A closer look, however, reveals that the cups are formed into the shape of owls. An image of a gigantic bear head, mouth wide open, is sewn on the quilt and the cups sit on the bear’s tongue.
Domestic objects, a quilt and cups were included for a reason. “It gives them another life outside the home,” Cambric said. The cups are available for $50 and when patrons take one home, the theme of predator and prey will continue every time someone puts the cup to his or her mouth to drink. “The person who buys the cup, they will recreate the bear,” she said.
Cambric says she tries to convey abstract ideas with her art. “It’s intellectual pottery,” she said. “It’s about contemporary art, how ceramics fits into the contemporary art world.” She also says she hopes that people will appreciate her work apart from any complicated explanations. “It’s something I hope is visually appealing, beautiful,” she said.
The exhibit includes another piece called “Baku the Nightmare Eater,” which utilizes a similar mix of ceramics and fabric. In it, a creature pulls a sort of skein of yarn and fabric with cups dangling from it, and like “Capacious” it blends the soft texture of fabric with a sinister theme, in this case the horror of nightmares.
The exhibit also has a series of colorful footed bowls with red, green and blue patterns on a white background and a shiny glaze finish.
Jennifer Salzman, LCC art gallery director, pointed out that “Generous” is unique in that it combines both fabric and ceramics. “I love her use of mixed media,” Salzman said.
Cambric is a professor at Governors State University in Illinois and holds a B.F.A. from the University of Minnesota and a M.F.A. from Louisiana State University. She was born in Medford, Ore. and grew up in Alaska. While in Minnesota, she met Salzman, then a graduate student at the university. This connection with Salzman led her to apply to have her art exhibited at Lane.
Cambric says she does not follow a particular school or method to create her art. Instead, she draws from what she learned during her university studies. The sense of touch is an important theme in her work. “There’s a lot of textures involved,” she said about “Generous,” adding that while she was creating the pottery she thought about what the user’s tactile experience of the finished product would be.
In her artist statement, she wrote: “Through the use of a bowl or a cup I’ve made, we can have a truthful conversation about how, like the ceramic pot, we have all been both fragile and resilient. The functional object allows me subversive access into the most intimate surroundings and engages the viewer on both a visual and tactile level.”