Our exhibition for January and February 2018, "Utility", is the porcelain ceramic work by artist Paul Donnelly. Donnelly maintains a studio practice residing in Kansas City, MO. and is currently an Associate Professor of Ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. The artist received his BFA from Edinboro University and his MFA from the Alfred University. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has been published in numerous books & periodicals.
Donnelly concentrates on making useable ceramics. His work is inspired by both architectural and natural settings using the inherent beauty of ceramic materials as a means to draw comparisons to these ideas without replicating them directly or realistically. He regards his function pottery being "created as systems to coordinate how the object operates by itself or within a larger arrangement of components. Investigation into design and function is a really important aspect of my practice," and the pieces are made for a specific function or a particular purpose. He uses a variety of forming techniques including throwing on the potter's wheel, hand-building, and slip-casting along with 3d modeling,and often combines these forming methods within the same piece to " blur the concepts and associations to individuality and mass production." Donnelly understands that through both display of and use of impart meaning that will change during the user’s relationship with the work. "The objects we interact with on a daily basis can conjure experiences in our lives, often becoming an article of sentiment."
Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth Gallery Curator, elaborates that "Donnelly's ceramics are design based. While making multiples of objects, each and every piece is different, unique, and highly individual. The strength of Donnelly's pieces is a conscientious understand of design and use, of its intimate association with humanity."