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Artist Brings ‘Bounty’ to Clark

By Kamerin Johnson in Life

Viewers talked casually among themselves while others traveled through Archer Gallery observing Dirk Staschke’s exhibit “Bounty.” Staschke’s art incorpo- rates imagery that people can identify with like cupcakes, birds and leaves, according to art professor Lisa Conway. (Kamerin Johnson / The Independent)

Gradually students and teachers began trickling into a dimly lit PUB 161. A diagram explaining the artist’s work was projected onto a screen in front of the student lounge.

Arrows moved through the image, leading to descriptions that detailed the artist’s message. To the right of the screen the artist waited quietly as the room filled to begin the lecture.

Portland ceramist Dirk Staschke lectured on Oct. 1 for the first Clark Art Talk of the Fall quarter. Clark Art Talks are an ASCC-sponsored program that are held monthly throughout the school year.

Staschke’s work appealed to all ages during an open reception preceding his Art Talks lecture.

Made with ceramics and mixed media “Wishing well, knowing otherwise” stood out as the only piece in “Bounty” featuring a shiny glaze.

“I thought his work was something students could really relate to,” said Lisa Conway, ceramics professor and chair of the art department.

“Dirk’s work is very visually attractive. He uses traditionally nice looking colors and delicate textures,” Conway said. “He uses recognizable imagery like cupcakes and birds and leaves. Of course when you get in and look closer at his work, you start to read the subtler levels of content he puts into it, like how the work is really all about overabundance and over-consumption.”

A collection of Staschke’s artwork titled “Bounty: The works of Dirk Staschke” is currently on exhibit in the Archer Gallery.

“The main purpose of our gallery is not so much to be super avant-garde or cutting edge but it’s to bring interesting and contemporary artwork onto the campus to enhance our art education program,” said Senseney Stokes, art director and professor of photography.

Staschke’s artwork is symmetrical and features complexities that pull you in to see more, he said. A focus in his work is “two ideologies existing in the same place: the mark of the individual and the mark of society.” Globalization and consumption are constant themes throughout his past and present works, Stokes said.

After graduating from University of Montevallo in Alabama with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Staschke earned his master’s from Alfred University, New York.

Since childhood Staschke said  he knew he would be an artist. He has now been creating ceramics for almost 25 years.

Students were drawn in by the piece “Wishing well, knowing otherwise,” which represented over-consumption and the urge we have to consume, according to Dirk Staschke. (Kamerin Johnson / The Independent)

“There is a buzz after each lecture,” Conway said. “The other ceramics instructor and myself planned our first projects with Dirk’s show in mind.  We are emphasizing students developing organic textures and inventing their own new, unique forms.”

Pottery and painting student Elizabeth Gaidamaka said she enjoyed the art lecture. “It lets me know that it is possible to be a successful artist,” she said.

Also moved by the exhibit and lecture, painting student Kristina Gavrilin said Staschke’s work gave her motivation to think outside the box.

With Clark students as the main viewing audience, all shows in the gallery are planned with the art departments classes in mind.

“The Archer Gallery is a great benefit to Clark College, and Dirk’s show is a great example of that,” Conway said.

Staschke’s artwork will be on exhibit in the Archer Gallery through Oct. 25

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