March 7 – April 18, 2014
Kentucky ceramics artist and teacher Wayne Ferguson is well-regarded throughout the state and within the art and craft industry. His mother first handed him clay to mold as a way to occupy and interest an otherwise mischievous child. But as Wayne grew, so did his skills.
Artist Statement – Wayne Ferguson
Sometimes when asked “How long have you been an artist?” I reply “All my life.” I remember that first ash tray I made in kindergarten, the little clay Jesus figure created in the third grade and the giant cactus painted with black poster paint when , for a time, I was in a special class at ten years of age. My brother and I would play for hours with clay our mother made out of flour, salt, cream of tarter and blue food coloring. Small forts, tanks, soldiers and artillery cannons would be made and and destroyed by one another. Later on they would be blown up with Black Cat firecrackers. As I became a teenager art would take on a greater meaning in my life. Frustrated and bent on self destruction I was turning into an out of control delinquent. My angel appeared in the form of my art teacher at Bellevue High School. Her name was Eva Hinkle and she managed to form me much like a lump of clay in her wise hands. My persona as an artist was now established by her and I soon found that being constructive was much better than being destructive. When Mrs. Hinkle showed me “Persistence of Memory” by Salvadore Dali there was no turning back. I knew I could be weird and unorthodox as an artist and defy the norm in a positive manner. When I went to the University of Kentucky as an English major with a minor in special education I was astounded to see someone in the Fine Arts building making pottery! I soon weaseled my way into the ceramics program as a student worker, cleaning the floors and scraping kiln shelves for probably the most sensitive and talented artist I have encountered in my life … John Tuska. As wonderful a person as he was I left college with no degree and went out to see the real world of clay. Living hand to mouth, building wood fired kilns and trying to make a life as a potter of sorts.
One thing led to another and through a series of fortunate events I became a teacher, with no degree, involved in artist residencies throughout Kentucky and other parts of the world. I travelled to Mexico and worked with the amazing potters in Mata Ortiz. I was hired on at the Arizona State Museum as an archaeology technician, digging ditches and sifting dirt, on several projects in the Tucson Basin. I would dig clay and fire replica pottery in the courtyard in the Barrio Viejo.
So now I have this show comprised of clay works and drawings. The theme of the exhibit is basically the three or four personalities of this 67-year-old artist wrought in clay and ink. Politics, religion, oil spills, mountain top removal and vestiges of my youth are on the walls. My love affair with clay and fire are represented in the clay.
My favorite aspect of the show is my tchotchke, souvenir and hillbilly art roadside stand reminiscent of a place on old Rt. 25 where we may have stopped on our way to visit relatives in Chattanooga in the 50’s. It is sort of tongue in cheek..I took the “fine” out of fine art and replaced it with “fun”.