Alfred University News

Ceramic Museum opening new exhibit, featuring sculpture of Jack Earl

The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum opens its new exhibition, Bill and Jack and Other Friends, Thursday, Feb. 22. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8pm the same day. Refreshments will be served, and the public is invited.

Bill and Jack and Other Friends honors the late Jack Earl (Aug. 2, 1934-July 17, 2023), a major figure in American contemporary ceramic art. ACAM recently received eight of Earl’s sculptures as gifts to the Museum’s permanent collection from the Crown Equipment Corporation. This major gift forms the basis for the exhibition.

 Earl was born near the small town of Uniopolis, Ohio. His sculpture celebrating the American vernacular of the Ohio mid-west became central to his career as an artist. Acts of daily life featuring a fictional, composite figure of the ball cap-wearing “Bill” reveal a romantic idealism in Earl’s work associated with common place wisdom.

 Earl wrote lengthy “titles” to his pieces which may add a bit of irony and humor to his work while simultaneously touching on a sincere respect for a magical sense of meaning in prosaic reality. In numerous works Earl used an approach to configuration described by the French term “dos-à-dos,” or back-to-back, which involves juxtaposing two seemingly incongruent images that provoke the curious viewer to speculate on the compelling gap between them.

 In conversation with curator Jane Milosch, Jack Earl is quoted as saying: “What I do is a presentation of the way things are…you just present it and let people see it. There has to be a sense of mystery in what you make.”

 “Other Friends” in the Museum’s exhibition title refers to selections from the Museum’s permanent collection --- functional, object or sculpture --- that complement the art of Jack Earl and offer a continuing opportunity for the Museum’s audience to see into the holdings of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University.

 The exhibition will be on view Feb. 22 to July 31, 2024. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.

 Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University

1 Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802