Central Becomes ‘Industrially Inspired’

Julia Conant, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Editor’s Note: Julia Conant works in CCSU’s Art Department.

The process of creating art, according to Illinois artist Tim Kowalcyk is as follows: “I make stuff out of stuff that looks like other stuff.”

Kowalcyk is just one of the artists whose work will be included in Central Connecticut’s newest art exhibition: Industrially Inspired. The title says it all; the works featured are all reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution and his idea of making stuff look like other stuff is a prominent theme of the exhibit..

On Thursday, Jan. 30, CCSU’s Art Gallery will hold an opening reception for exhibition.

All of the artists involved in the exhibit use ceramics as their medium of choice, however they are able to make their artwork look like rusted antique industrial pieces.

“This collection exemplifies industrially-inspired ceramic work by five artists,” Dr. Cassandra Broadus-Garcia, the curator of the exhibit, stated. “[Their] manipulation of materials, scale and form resulted in the creation of three-dimensional trompe l’oeil-like works that fooled viewers’ eyes.”

The five artists included in the exhibit are Tim See, Pedro Centeno, Kenneth Baskin, Chris D’Ambrose and the previously mentioned Kowalcyk.

See is an artist from New York, teaching art to students in Syracuse. His YouTube channel “Timsee clay” has over 34,000 subscribers, one video obtaining more than one million views.

See tells a fictional story through his hundreds of ceramic pieces. A fair amount of those pieces are made to look like mugs, bowls and cans with etchings of robots, pickles and other items on the side.

Centeno grew up right here in New Britain, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in ceramics from Central. However, he originally came to college with dreams of being a police officer.

“I’ve always had an interest in art, but never thought of it as a career option,” Centeno said on his website. “During my junior year, in order to fulfill an elective, I signed up for an introduction class to ceramics. I was instantly hooked.”

Baskin sculpted machine parts for his series of work he calls the “20th Century Artifact” series.

“The investigative properties of the 20th Century Artifact series are focused upon the mechanical objects or artifacts derived from the advent of the Industrial Revolution,” Baskin explained. “Within this current body of work I am exploring the integration of actual and abstracted machine parts into homologous relationships.”

D’Ambrose crafts machine parts as well. His purpose in doing so is to demonstrate their complex nature and to highlight the positive and negative spatial relationships.

Kowalcyk is an Illinois artist who has been featured in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” for his ability to make ceramic material look like cardboard. He has also received several awards for his artwork, having his work displayed in private and various university collections.

“Pathetic, absurd, antiquated, banal or even garbage are words that best describe the objects I am drawn to,” Kowalcyk said in his artist’s statement. “These types of objects hold my attention because of the stories they can tell and what they can mean.”

While “Industrially Inspired” takes place in the main gallery room, the Inner Gallery will hold a similar exhibit titled “Inspired by Industry.” This smaller exhibit will feature objects from the New Britain Industrial Museum, which collects items that represent New Britain’s innovation and invention.

The exhibit is curated by students Georgia Exner and Angela Borges. It focuses on found objects, demonstrating how functional items can also be viewed as art.

The purpose of these exhibits is to show that there is beauty in everyday items and that even the most mundane things can be considered artwork.

The opening reception for both of these exhibits will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30 in Maloney Hall’s Art Galleries. The galleries are located on the second floor by the elevator. Anyone is welcome to come admire the artwork, listen to some of the artists speak about their work and enjoy a free spread of food.