Alfred University News

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum publishes major book on William Underhill’s sculpture

The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum is pleased to announce the publication of a hardcover book of the work of artist William Underhill.

The book, William Underhill: Casting a Legacy, tracks the life and career of William (Bill) Underhill who taught sculpture at the School of Art and Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, from 1969 to 1997. The detailed chronology is written by Edward Lebow ’76 with numerous, historical photos restored by Brian Oglesbee.

To celebrate the publication, a book party is scheduled at the Museum from 4:30 to 6pm, Friday, Nov. 10, during which the book is available at a reduced market price. Everyone is invited to visit or revisit the current exhibitions and share in the celebration of the Museum’s latest publication on Underhill. Refreshments will be served. Additionally, all Museum books and catalogues will be offered at significantly reduced rates.

William Underhill: Casting a Legacy was published by the Museum in collaboration with Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany. It serves as a compressive catalogue for the Museum’s retrospective exhibition of the same title held April 20 to Dec. 30, 2022. The book was edited by Wayne Higby, Director and Principal Curator of ACAM, who also wrote the introduction. The book contains the magnificent photography of Underhill’s work by his good friend Brian Oglesbee as well as an important biographical essay by Edward Lebow, who received his BFA from Alfred University in 1976. Also included is an insightful essay by Mary Drach McInnes that “walks through” the Museum’s exhibition.

In reflecting on Underhill’s work, the ACAM exhibition of his art, and now the book William Underhill: Casting a Legacy, Higby writes: “I am reminded of the mythic ideal of the philosophers’ stone and the transmutation of base materials into an elixir of life and immortality. William Underhill’s magnum opus was the result of his deeply personal devotion to his alchemical enquiry into meaning. He found that his philosophers’ stone was hand and mind, emotion and spirit engaged without unnecessary interruption toward the goal of understanding the power of art.”

The book is dedicated to the memory of Underhill and to his family who have become, so lovingly, the central caretakers of that memory. William Underhill was an extraordinary artist of major importance who passed away on February 16, 2022. He lives on in his art.


 Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University

1 Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802


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