Five McKnight Artists

From the Northern Clay Center
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Fine Arts Gallery, Center for the Arts
October 15 - December 12, 2008

McKnight's Minnesota Artist Fellowship

This exhibit features work by McKnight's Minnesota Artist Fellowship recipients Bob Briscoe (Harris), Mika Negishi Laidlaw (Mankato), Yonghee Joo (Korean/living in New Jersey), Junko Nomura (Japanese/living in Minnesota) ,and Nick Renshaw (British/ living in the Netherlands).

Bob Briscoe attended Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas and he has been working as a studio potter since 1967. Briscoe has shown his work in craft shows across the country, from the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington DC to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado. He has pieces in many collections, including the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.

Briscoe's ash-glazed stoneware pottery is always created with an intended purpose in mind."I make pots to hold liquids, serve food, and display flowers," says Briscoe. "The forms I use are spare, with large, simple areas, heavy textures, weighty bases, and substantial rims and attachments. I focus on the foot and the rim of a form as the defining elements. They are intentionally rough and crude to achieve this definition." Briscoe describes his recent work as "mining deeper into the vocabulary I have evolved over three–plus decades of making work."

Mika Negishi Laidlaw received her M.F.A. from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas in 2000 and her B.A. in Studio Art from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1994. In 2002, Laidlaw was an Artist-in-Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and from 1994-1997, she was an apprentice at Akishino Pottery in Nara City, Japan, where she studied traditional Japanese pottery under Masaya Imanishi. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Ceramics and Design at Mankato Statue University, Minnesota.

Laidlaw's hand-built sculptures are inspired by her interest in the beauty of human bodies. "The curves and folds of a body are what I am strongly drawn to," she says. "I see them as the beauty that changes every moment." Her ultimate goal as an artist is "to create works that can grab somebody by his/her heart." Laidlaw's sculptures are ambitious works of art that contribute an important voice to the world of contemporary figurative ceramics.

Yonghee Joo received an M.F.A. from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, in 2004 and her B.F.A. from Seoul National University, Korea, in 1993. She has previously been an Artist-in-Residence at the Greenwich House Pottery in New York and was awarded a 2nd place award in the exhibit "Earth, Wheel and Fire," an internationally juried ceramics exhibition at the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas. As her piece titled "Would you like to share my dinner?" demonstrates, Joo's work combines sculptural elements of figures, flowers, and insects with traditional functional forms as she pursues her dual conceptual interests of human psychology and personal meditations on nature.

Junko Nomura received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from State University of New York at New Paltz in 2006 and a Diploma in Ceramics from Okayama Prefecture Bizen Ceramic Center, Japan in 1996. About her work, Nomura says, "I am moved by the power of nature, and I am interest in the notion of tracing the history of life on earth. My interest in, and knowledge of, archeology, history and psychology informs my work. I create intuitively, not intellectually, but I know that all I have absorbed goes into the alchemy that is my process…." Nomura's sculptures emphasize the material properties inherent in clays and glazes and her installations create metaphoric spaces she refers to as "subconscious landscapes" that are powerful and sublime.

Nick Renshaw received his M.A. from the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1997. He has worked in such locations as the European Ceramic Center in Den Bosch, Netherlands, Pratt University in Brooklyn, New York, and Helsinki, Finland. Renshaw's work generally includes large- and small-scale sculptures, each use a variety of techniques, from coil building to casting. He describes this process as one that creates "tensions brought about by combining contrasting organic and industrial ways of making…" Renshaw's McKnight Residency at Northern Clay Center occurred February through April 2007.

"pastel-coloured humanoids arranged in rows. These ambiguous characters, reminiscent of the Chinese terra-cotta army of Qin Shi Hung, seem innocent rather than warrior-like. Some of the faces are also similar to those belonging to the ominous cybermen seen in the British television series Doctor Who. This makes their uncomprehending anonymity both nostalgic and compelling because we are unsure whether they are benign or threatening."

-author Siobhan Wall in an article about Renshaw's work titled "Native Procreation in Eboracum" September 2005. Ceramic Art and Perception, No. 61.


Northern Clay Center's mission is the advancement of the ceramic arts. Ongoing programs include exhibitions of sculpture and pottery by regional, national, and international artists; classes and workshops for children and adults; studio space and grants for artists; and a sales gallery representing many top ceramic artists from the region and elsewhere. Guided tours, hands-on events and artist demos are available. The facility is handicapped-accessible.

2424 Franklin Avenue East
Minneapolis, MN 55406.
One block south of Interstate 94, between 24th and 25th Avenues, just off the Riverside/25th exit.

Gallery hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 4 p.m.
Monday: closed

2008-2009 Five McKnight Artists

from the Northern Clay Center October 15 - December 12, 2008 Kristin Wigley-Fleming Gallery, Center for the Arts