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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Studies in Emergence and Duality

Timo Gallery welcomes Michael Prepsky

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The National Conference on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) launches a partnership between Arizona-based ceramic artist Michael Prepsky and his longtime friend Timo Meyerring, director of the Marshall Building’s Timo Gallery. Of the collaboration, Prepsky notes, “To have the opportunity to do this together is very unique and exciting.”

No stranger to NCECA, Prepsky has presented at numerous conferences over the past four decades and was a student of founder Dick Hay. During this period, he also taught ceramics in Phoenix and co-founded a successful high school arts magnet program. He sums up his educational philosophy by quoting a sign he displayed in his classroom: “Feel free to play.” Viewing art as an ideal means for self-growth and exploration, he contends, “The center of education should be art. From there everything else emanates.”

Since retiring from teaching, Prepsky has focused on creating “large thematic bodies of inspired work” and Timo Gallery’s offering marks his first exhibition in four years. The works include ceramics, paintings and drawings, and feature abstract figures, dense textural elements, and the central ideas of duality and emergence.

This is especially clear in Age Piece, a sculpture from which two distinct figures (one young, one old) emerge from a vessel. The thematic duality is augmented by an accompanying photograph by Jason Grubb revealing the side of the sculpture hidden from view. Recalling the genesis of this work, Prepsky remarks on the power of teaching to keep him young and admits, “I just realized now, turning 70, that there’s something about age I want to explore.”

The duality of illusory perception is the focus of Mini Into One, a collaborative sculpture with Meyerring, in which the gallerist overlaid a painting of a face over numerous small sculptural faces by Prepsky.

Wishing I were you. Wishing you were me., created by rolling raw canvas in Lake Michigan and then painting it wet on the sand, depicts two small heads within a larger one, suggesting the essence of empathy and friendship. Of the theme of emergence, Prepsky notes, “We’re always emerging, growing, changing, moving from one space to another.” This exhibition, seminal to the next phase in a masterful artist and thinker’s career, is likewise an opportunity for viewers to look inward and consider their own transformations.

Prepsky’s work is on display at Timo Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St.) through March 22, and will be featured at the gallery from now on. Visit March 20-21, from 5-9 p.m., to meet the artist.