When: Feb. 8 (Wednesday) to March 4 (Friday) at UNT on the Square. The reception will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 9 (Thursday).
Hours: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturdays
Where: UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St., on Denton's historic courthouse square.
More information: Call 940-369-8257 or find more information, including directions, at UNT on the Square online.
DENTON (UNT), Texas - A new exhibition will highlight the works of retiring University of North Texas associate professor Jerry Austin in ceramics – a field that he likes for the challenges of the medium.
Currents: A Survey of Recent Works will run from Feb. 8 (Wednesday) to March 4 (Friday) at UNT on the Square. The reception will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 9 (Thursday).
Austin said ceramic works present many challenges. First, he must form the clay into an object – the clay can warp or crack while drying – then he surrenders it to the fire.
“It’s a dirty, dusty discipline,” he said. “You hope they become these beautiful or inspiring objects.”
Austin first got into ceramics as a University of Texas senior art major. He was mesmerized by the “throwing” process, in which the artist forms shapes on the potter’s wheel.
“It’s a struggle in the beginning,” he said. “You’re trying to center the clay, then trying to pull it up into a form, and it fights you the whole way. It was frustrating and befuddling, but very rewarding when you finally learn how to do it.”
But he ended up spending most of his free time in the ceramic studio that year, making more than 300 works. He then earned his master’s of science degree at East Texas State University and taught in Louisiana before returning to school to receive his master’s of fine arts degree at Louisiana State University. He came to UNT in 1982 and he helped establish a vibrant ceramics program in the College of Visual Arts and Design.
Austin noted his pieces reflect his split personality. He creates functional pots such as bowls and plates that are light and round. But he also likes to build sculptures that are an abstracted bowl form that he calls basins.
“You’re struggling to make a thing form,” he said. “The thick form is a reaction to that.”
Once the process is done, he glazes the piece in a wide range of colors.
Through the years, he noted that his work has evolved constantly, but subtly, with changes in the glaze, shape, contour and size. As he prepares for his retirement, he’s considering getting into 2D art, such as drawing.
He looks forward to presenting his work at this exhibition.
“It’s a great opportunity to have the show at UNT on the Square,” he said. “It’s a fabulous local venue.”