Nature conjures images of the power of fecundity, the quiet of meditation, and the sensuousness of form. Though nature is often equated with vastness, the ocean or the Blue Ridge on a drive to Asheville, we overlook the magic that each of us are of nature. All life is either born, hatched or sprouted. Alice Ballard reminds us that the miracle of nature is often condensed into the smallest pod, fruit, or twig that we step on or bypass in our rush to scenic grandeur. Alice began making her "White Works" in the 1980's after ..."discovering a bag of tulip bulbs beneath my studio sink that I had forgotten to plant in the fall." These bulbs had sprouted in the damp dark. A number of years later the "...series focused on the often tiny natural objects I pick up on my walks."
Alice creates A Walk Remembered by arranging and grouping her sculptural clay forms on low pedestals that make a winding path through Riverworks giving us a similar perspective for making our own discoveries on our walks. Alice's "White Work" is white earthenware burnished with white terra sigillata. Each is a hand built sculpture based on the small, often overlooked bits of nature - a shell, a seed, a twig. Through her exquisite craft she elevates these found natural bits and pieces to create a space of contemplation and appreciation of grandeur on a smaller scale. Though white has a number of personal associations for Alice, creating these works in white heightens our appreciation of their form without the distraction of color. Alice recounts, "Nature to me is a constant reminder of the interconnectedness of all things. My attention is drawn to natural forms that become symbolic of rebirth, hope, and renewal."
Alice's "White Works" relate to her life's journey through happiness and pain from Charlotte to Alaska to Greenville. As a self-described "eternal optimist", Alice beckons us to calmly, and with spiritual grace, join her on A Walk Remembered.
Alice is retiring from teaching in Greenville. She and her spouse are building a home in an orchard that will provide fertile ground to discover more natural forms for her "White Works." Alice has made art in an international ceramic colony in Macedonia and in India on a Fulbright Grant. She muses that her time in Alaska influenced her delight in white. For Alice, "White is like pure potential."
RIVERWORKS Gallery is operated by and for the faculty and students of the Department of Visual Arts at Greenville Technical College. The gallery is located at 300 River Street, Suite 202, along the scenic Reedy River in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
For more information, contact:
Fleming Markel, Gallery Director