Exploring connection through ceramics

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

Bowls, plates, mugs — we fill them, reach for them, sip from them and often without second thought.

Thomas Lowell Edwards' art makes you think about these items, and even more, what they represent.

"The utilitarian object, conceptually, it is based around communal activities," Edwards said.

By embedding utilitarian ceramics in cement or concrete, Edwards not only creates visually intriguing pieces, he "memorializes" the ceramics and the communal acts they bring to mind.

"It's a tangible experience, psychologically," said John Lee Matney, owner of Linda Matney Fine Art Gallery.

"We don't really think about how we use dishes," Matney said. But there's often memories or feelings associated with the items.

Five of Edwards' works will display at the Linda Matney Gallery through at least September.

A potter since high school, Edwards obtained a Masters in Fine Arts in Ceramics from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

During time spent in residencies abroad, including China, Germany and France, Edwards noticed a greater tendency toward communal activities.

"A lot of it extends from my desire to be connected," he said.

He's interested by the purpose of utilitarian ceramics, particularly in multiples. It's a purpose so often tied to gathering, coming together and community.

Edwards explained "Densities," a large rectangular concrete piece punctured by ceramic cylinders. The cylinders are grouped closely, never quite touching.

The idea, he said, encompasses human connection, and the capacity for connection in a digital age. He said there's a denseness of population, ripe with opportunities for connection and these opportunities are often left unexplored.

That's just one way Edwards' work examines connection, or the lack thereof.

"They are quiet. They are contemplative pieces," Edwards said. "It's hoping that people will take the time to investigate further."

The artist recently relocated to Charles City, from Lincoln, Neb. Edwards hopes to get involved in Williamsburg.

"This is kind of an introduction to the community," he said.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

Want to go?

When: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday

Where: Linda Matney Fine Art Gallery, 5435 Richmond Road (behind Carolina Furniture)

For more information, call 675-6628 or visit LindaMatneyGallery.com.

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