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Wunderlich to be featured in ceramics exhibit in Galesburg

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Detailed ceramic work by new Monmouth College art professor Janis Wunderlich will be on display at an exhibit opening Oct. 27 at Galesburg’s Carl Sandburg College.

Wunderlich has four pieces in the show, which is titled “Terra Firma: An Exhibition of Seven Regional Ceramic Artists.” The works can be viewed at the college’s Lonnie Eugene Stewart Art Gallery, located in Building D.

AN opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 15.

“Two of the sculptures are influenced by my recent residency in Germany,” said Wunderlich, who spent the summer of 2016 in Dresden on a grant from the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Arts Council. “Elements of fairy tales and European Gothic architecture can be seen.”

The other two sculptures focus on relationships, she said.

While studying the history of porcelain in Dresden, Wunderlich said she was struck by the city’s architecture, which is divided between Baroque and Russian influences. She was also moved by what she called the city’s “resiliency,” both in terms of its recovery from World War II and also from two devastating floods in the past 15 years.

“I was overwhelmed and impressed by how many bad things can happen and how they overcame that and continue to find beauty,” she said. “That sense of renewal and rebuilding was so prevalent there.”

Wunderlich spent about a month sculpting each of her pieces, the largest of which is about 40 inches tall. The works feature exquisite detail and a wide range of colors.

“The significance is in the details,” she said. “I enjoy spending time with a piece until it looks right. Doing these pieces is a sort of life journal for me, and I’m usually not in a rush.”

In addition to the ceramics work she does with her hands – the “tactile” element of her art – she also enjoys the experimental nature of creatively mixing glazes.

“That’s one of the fun parts of ceramics,” she said. “I like when the materials overlap. There’s always an element of surprise, and it’s usually a very happy surprise.”

Wunderlich joined Monmouth’s faculty this fall after teaching at Ashland (Ohio) University. She followed up a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics from Brigham Young University with a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from The Ohio State University.