JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 28, 2004 – Preston Saunders will return to the art gallery at Union University from Oct. 5-29 to display his ceramics in an exhibit hosted by the art department. Preston served as a studio assistant to Professor Aaron Lee Benson from 1994-1996 and then returned in 2000 to do a solo exhibit and invitational workshop.
“He was the first successful student I had,” said Aaron Lee Benson, assistant professor of art. “He was a very talented young man, very personable and eager to work.”
In the time since his last visit, Preston has had the opportunity to work as an exchange ceramic professor at the Seoul National University of Technology in Seoul, Korea. While there, he was involved in coordinating the International Raku Symposium Korea 2001 in Daegu, as well as participating in several international ceramic expositions. Upon his return to the states, he spent a year at Rochester Institute of Technology as assisting chair for the School of American Crafts before accepting a position as assistant professor at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass., teaching ceramics and metal smithing.
“The intention of this body of work is to construct metaphoric vessels that are concerned with ceremonial presentations and are referential to nature and our busy society,” Saunders said. “Time always tends to pass us by and we are never really sure where it goes.”
One focus of Saunder’s work is tea ware, an art in which he learned through work with the Ohi family in Kanazawa, Japan producing their traditional ceramic tea ware. His work has expanded to explore meditation and rock gardens.
“It’s a very intimate poly-texture with a mature color palette in greens, blues and earth tones. His work is small intimate pieces that have a very powerful narrative without proclaiming a specific idea, still a very powerful narrative,” said Benson. “When I see his work I respond spiritually and as a Christian, though it is, overall, a powerful work. His main references come out of rock gardens and meditation gardens as well and also meditation rocks and bonsai traditions. All these traditions come to play in his work.”
The show and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday - Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. For more information, contact the Union University art department at (731) 661-5075.
By Alaina Kraus, '05