2017 NCECA Annual Exhibition:
The Evocative Garden

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
8371 N Interstate Avenue
Portland, OR 97217
March 8- April 1, 2017

JUROR/ CURATOR: Gail M. Brown, curator will select works for the exhibition in coordination with NCECA Exhibitions Director Leigh Taylor Mickelson.

In 2017 NCECA launches a new annual exhibition platform that will replace the Biennial and Invitational, which have been produced in alternating years since 2010. The refreshed NCECA Annual exhibition format is being developed in response to feedback from members. The new model seeks to blend impactful attributes of each of the previous models while also cultivating opportunity for curatorial practice in regard to ceramic art.

NCECA’s aspiration is to evolve the exhibition model in a manner that will enable exceptional work to be represented in a way that celebrates concerns of materiality and conceptual rigor. One outcome that NCECA will remain committed to will be that comparatively under-exposed artists will have an opportunity to present their work with that of established and important emerging creators in the field.

The NCECA Annual will enable the vision of a single curator to frame an organizing concept and to support the exhibition’s foundational ideas through the inclusion of works by up to five invited artists making important contributions to the field. The remainder of the exhibition will be selected through an open submission, blind review and selection process. The single curator model will provide an annually recurring opportunity for a particular point of view on the field to emerge as the result of a unique, informed, and thoughtful vision.

The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts is pleased to announce that in 2017, esteemed curator of contemporary craft Gail M. Brown will launch this new series with The Evocative Garden, an international juried and invitational exhibition exploring natural and cultivated worlds. Invited artists include Megan Bogonovich, Jess Riva Cooper, Kim Dickey, Linda Sormin and Dirk Staschke.

A breadth of implied and articulated dramas will be staged as a personally defined natural landscape or more formalized garden scenario. In works of ceramic sculpture, installation, object and vessel format, each participant will offer a new or recent work- some potent objects-as-metaphors, with sub-text and, others as choreographed scenes with figuration or the figure/s implied in a verdant location, in vocabularies from nuanced realism to personal symbolism. Each will be designed to reference an array of issues- nature’s fragility and sustainability, the wild and the tame, life’s appetites and dilemmas, conflict and resolution, the everlasting and the temporal- social and historic events, of the natural world and the human condition. Artists remind us that nature and the articulated garden, as context, stimulation and tactile allure, is a seductive, universal, ever present enticement.

~Gail M. Brown, Curator

Portland identifies itself as The City of Roses. It abounds with lush public and private gardens and the climate to nurture them. For The Evocative Garden, the curator seeks submissions that visually define a garden allusion, as subject, context or setting, according to their own narrative and ceramic vocabulary.

Gail M. Brown is an independent curator whose interest is to enhance visibility and education about contemporary craft within the larger visual arts community. She trained as a printmaker at the Philadelphia College of Art where she identified her own connection to process and media while exploring etching and lithography. Brown has been watching the contemporary craft movement since the early 1970s. She is a passionate observer of the unique potential of art in craft media for the communication of issue-oriented and aesthetic ideas coupled with extensive examination of chosen material process, within the long decorative arts continuum. She curates focused exhibitions which share exceptional work from a national/international body of mature and mid-career artists and introduces potent ideas and forms by younger makers.

Among the 75+ exhibitions Gail M. Brown has curated and juried, many of which focus upon and celebrate clay, are A FEAST OF BEADS: Ceramic Jewelry, NCECA, Seattle, 2012; DISARMING DOMESTICITY- Our Shared Domestic Unease, NCECA, Philadelphia, 2010; SCHOOLS OUT: Emerging Ceramic Artists, NCECA, Baltimore, 2005 and LOOKING IN THE MIRROR: Aspects Of Figurative Ceramics, NCECA, Columbus, 1999.

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center will host The Evocative Garden, in conjunction with Future Flux, the 51st Annual NCECA Conference in Portland, Oregon (March 22-25, 2017). With more than 5000 square feet of exhibition space, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center has emerged as one of the Portland region’s most vibrant creative venues. The exhibition will run March 4 – April 1, 2017. Established in 2000, Disjecta provides a catalytic platform for forward-thinking work by visual and performing artists. Dynamic programs showcase new ideas and engage new audiences while fueling collaborations between artists, curators, and viewers to impact and intervene in the larger contemporary arts dialogue. Visit disjecta.org to learn more.


NCECA produces a limited edition color catalog for the exhibition featuring an essay by the curator along with statements and color images of artwork by all participating artists. The catalog will be available for pre-order purchase online and at the conference so long as supplies remain.


Exhibition dates: March 8-April 1, 2017

51st Annual NCECA Conference in Portland, Oregon: March 22-25, 2017

Reception: 6 PM- 9 PM Thursday, March 23, 2017

Return shipments leave Disjecta on or about April 2, 2017