Visual

Cup Show

An exhibit that runneth over

See

What: "Cup Show" Reception

Where: Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden

More:

WHEN: 6-8pm Thurs., June 1; the exhibit runs through Sept. 1

Info: http://www.jansenartcenter.org

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I have three coffee cups I keep in constant rotation. One is a dark blue and dense, and was handcrafted by a ceramicist who obviously knew exactly what they were doing. The second has a hairline fracture in it, but the painted-on fir trees and snow on it are so lovely I can’t bear to ditch it. The third is white and delicate and decorated with gold filagree and flowers, and it’s difficult to believe I haven’t broken it yet.

I thought about these receptacles when I received notice about the Jansen Art Center’s fifth annual “Cup Show,” which opens with an early evening reception Thurs., June 1 at the Lynden locale.

The three images I was sent reminded me that one of the reason I’ve kept the same mugs in my cupboard for so long is that each one is different, yet they’re all a sight for sore eyes. When I’m holding one of them in my cold hands and waiting for the heat emanating through them to warm my mitts and deliver jolts of caffeine to my digestive system, I also enjoy looking at them. 

Jesse Rasmussen, the ceramics studio manager at the center—and one of the 50 artists whose work was selected by a jury—is well aware the genius of the “Cup Show” is that even though the artworks are small, the talent isn’t.

“I think the beauty of a cup show is seeing the artistic spectrum that each artist brings to a very simple, single idea—the cup,”  Rasmussen says of the exhibit, which features works by artists both local and national.

With 105 cups in the show—up from 76 in 2016—there’s a lot to look at.

For example, Tennessee-based ceramicist Jamie Peterson’s steampunk selection reflects both contemporary and classical sensibilities. In his hands, a cup becomes a layered link to the past (you probably won’t want to put coffee in it, however, as a few holes are included in its design).

C.A. Traen’s cup, on the other hand, begs to be filled with something—sake, maybe, or a small serving of soup. It’s squat and colorful and playful, and, in the artists’ words, “serves as a reminder to not take oneself too seriously.”

Conversely, Nicole Aquillano’s tall cup tells a tale, and begs for introspection. A Victorian-style house awash in blue is depicted, and might be depressing were it not for warm, yellow light emanating from one of the upstairs rooms.

Aquillano says she develops a personal relationship with each one of her functional pieces, which combine architectural imagery drawn from her own photographic collection, nostalgia for her childhood home and porcelain clay. 

“My memories and experiences are carved onto objects intended to be both used and collected: as a way to facilitate new relationships to fill the void left by that which we will never have again,” the Boston resident says.

While not every artist will be in attendance at the June 1 event, expect those who are based nearby to be on hand to talk about their selected pieces. An online store will launch the day after the opening reception, so your best chance to find your new favorite cup is to attend and secure your find.

“The popularity of this event means that the cups sell quickly,” Rasmussen says. Consider yourself warned.

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