For our April and May exhibition, we are pleased to feature the slip cast porcelain work of Bryan Hopkins. Raised in a family of teachers, his mother taught pottery and sculpture in high school and his father was a mathematics instructor. Hopkins began his college studies as a math major. Needing a few more credits to graduate, he took a pottery class which led to graduate studies in ceramics. He earned his Master's in Fine Arts in Ceramics from the State University of New York. The artist maintains a studio practice in Buffalo New York and teaches part time at Niagara Community College.
Hopkin's uses the slip casting method to make his work. He pours a liquid suspension of porcelain clay over a variety of textural elements such as steel plates and wood grain patterns to make very thin slabs. Assembling them into "provocative and cerebral" ceramic forms, he conscientiously leaves evidence of how he makes each piece. Many of his pieces have multiple piercings, holes drilled into the clay surface, or other open spaces in the walls. Hopkins refers to these as his "dysfunctional series." Sections of these meticulously constructed forms are then finished in a white glaze while leaving parts of each vessel unglazed. "I am interested ideas of structure, architecture, containment, and permanence. My work takes those interests and applies them to porcelain vessels, adding to the continuum of expressive ceramic containers. My choice of porcelain is its’ translucence and color, and I push the clay as far as it will go, firing to a very high temperature in a reduction atmosphere to obtain the whitest result possible. "
Plinth Gallery curator Jonathan Kaplan comments that, "Hopkins' porcelain vessels exhibit a dedication to challenging the context of containment. His work explores these ideas in a compelling and thoughtful manner. His most recent work explores the addition of a black porcelain to the white, and includes gold accents. Not only does he stretch that idea of vessel, but he also pushes the qualities of surface into an exciting direction. I am pleased to exhibit his work."