Visions of Cascadia, a Shared 2012 NCECA Ceramics Exhibition
The Cascadia Now! Visions of Cascadia art exhibition wrapped up on April 3rd at theFancyArtGallery in downtownSeattle. The show hosted work from a broad array of artists from around the Pacific Northwest, including Charles Krafft, Jeffry Mitchell, Jesse Edwards, Garth Johnson, Aaron Murray, Kristen Loffer Theiss, Zoe Garred, Erich Ginder, Kate Greiner, Chris Theiss, Claire Cowie, Garrick Druss, and Matthew Cox, and was meant to portray a mythical place and region in the future, consisting of Washington, Oregon, Northern California and parts of British Columbia – in reality already a cultural biosphere, where ecosystem, dress, custom and art already form a common culture.
The show was part of the 2012 annual NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) Conference, whose theme was On the Edge, and included more than 150 exhibitions located around the city. In its description, it declared, “Seattle, as well as the entire Puget Sound region, is located in a unique geographical position; on the EDGE of the country and on the EDGE of thePacific Rim. From this location ON THE EDGE, quite naturally, we have a broad perspective on objects, places and issues, and see great distances. We thrive on the intersection of old and new worlds. And we respect distant and historic cultures…Asian, Pacific, Native American, and all of our neighbors inNorth America… we also visit the EDGE of our imagination and appreciate the artistic use of clay in dynamic new ways.”
For curator Aaron Murray, the idea of Cascadia fell perfectly into this description. Talking about his motivations for the exhibition, the artist described his original idea “for Cascadia Now! was to make a show of regional artists with their own interpretation of what a Cascadia could look like. Cascadia, according to most interpretations is mainly the northwest corner of the US and part of Canada which includes Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and may or may not include parts of Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The book Ecotopia talked about a Cascadia,many separatists, environmentalists, small government advocates, websites, blogs, and even Wikipedia have written about it… I was thinking about the original thirteen colonies and how less than 5 million formed what became the USA and thought that if our country ever fell apart, we could re-form a nation here in this region, because Washington State alone has 8 million people and the people north and south of us generally are similar in culture, appearance, and politics.”