Michael Daniel Fine Arts Critique #7 – Extra-Ordinary, Kyle Houser 11/30/2006 Extra-Ordinary is a ceramics art exhibit

in Sprawls. It does not open until Dec 5 but I kind of stumbled upon it yesterday. It was completely set up, but it wasn’t supposed to be open to the public yet. It turned out to be the most educational visual arts show that I have ever attended. I was looking for a visual arts show to critique and I had heard that Sprawls has some good shows so I went in. I was greeted by a wall of glass with white paper taped to the inside of it. Small, black lettering on the left said, ‘Kipp Gallery’ and there were two posters. One was a photograph of a bloody head pooling a puddle of blood which advertised a show titled, ‘A Postmodern Breakdown’. The one below it was a close up of pottery that advertised a show titled, ‘Extra-ordinary’. I did not notice the dates on the posters at the time. I entered the exibit and started to take notes on the ceramics. A man asked me what I thought and we discussed some of the work for a little while. He turned out to be Kyle Houser, the ceramics artist who created the extraordinary show. The left side of the gallery was not fully set up yet. That side is going to be ‘A Postmodern Breakdown’ and I did not review that show. The right side was ‘Extraordinary’, which I did review. ‘Extra-Ordinary’ was set up for Kyle’s masters verbal defense which was set to begin 20 minutes from when I was speaking to Kyle. I apologized and offered to leave. Kyle insisted that I was not intruding and let me get some notes about his work. The room was stark white. The pottery was mostly all white. Most of the pottery was abstract and it was hard to make out what they were supposed to be until I looked at

the back wall, where there were paintings of the pieces with names scratched into the paint. The names were things such as, ‘crushed cup closed salt shaker’ and ‘aspirator doorknob’. It became clear that these pieces were everyday household objects sculpted in ceramic with a strong emphasis on perspective. Without knowing that, this exhibit would have been difficult to understand. Most of the pieces looked like useless objects at first. There were two podiums with small, transparent glass covers on them, kind of like the covers that a fancy restaurant puts over plates of food. They were packed full of small, blue ceramic pieces with flowers on them. There was a table full of probably 50 small objects that were difficult to identify. A water jug with a hose coming from the bottom hung on the wall. It looked like an extremely ornate IV bag from a hospital. There was a podium with two things that looked like jellyfish or breast implants. They looked like they were melting and dripping onto the podium. Behind them was a bunch of either horns or bells. He painted oriental style flowers on most of these things, but on some of them he painted people. If you look closely, you will see Superman is painted on the water bottle, which showed a wonderful lack of pretension. When I got to that point the co-chair of the fine arts department came in. Again, I offered to leave but she insisted that I wasn’t in the way yet. We discussed what is involved in a masters verbal defense. There were no names put up for the pieces because the names were supposed to go up during his verbal defense. We discussed a hanging piece with what seemed to be saints hanging upside down on bathroom chains with red soap littering the ground below them. We decided that it looked like saints crucified upside down. The exhibit opens Dec 5 – 19 and I would highly recommend it.