How do you understand a man who speaks only Chinese? You look at his work. Bai Ming, a master Chinese ceramist and painter, is teaching the ceramics class this session. He made a presentation this evening in Gateway. His daughter, Jessica, translated for him as he spoke of his home and his influences and then there was a video which had subtitles. It was in looking at his work that you could get to know him. He is of a generation that bridges the enormous past of Chinese art and the emerging contemporary scene. I especially respond to his paintings. It’s not often that you are in a place where you can chat with a modern master.
The day flew by. The class has covered many techniques and experimented with many materials. Of course, there are many more that we could cover if we had the time and inventory. Beginning today, we are approaching the design of an object from the point of view of an idea, of influences and content. After this week of quick and sketchy assignments, each person will come up with a direction that she wishes to pursue. That’s when the good stuff begins.
The byword for today was, “All art is learning.” It started as “All my art is learning”, which a student expressed when she was talking about an assignment, but it seemed that it could be simplified to include all art. The artist is learning through her pursuit of her practice and with any luck the viewer of the art is learning something about him or herself and the world. Lofty ideals but worth pursuing.