Objects that are connected to rituals—and therefore connected to social and cultural traditions—have a symbolic or metaphoric significance as well as a practical function. For example, the teapot can be a container for liquid but it could also be considered a vessel for communication and a symbol of interpersonal relationships as well as historic events. As part of a ritual, it is held in human hands yet it can also be “understood” without being touched. The teapot could be viewed in combination with other pieces, such as a cup and saucer. These sets imply further use and activity. As such, the teapot is a rather mundane object that can still have power.
Standing on Ceremony highlights functional artworks from Racine Art Museum’s collection that could be used for everyday rituals, such as drinking and eating. Ceramic tea services and metal serving ware offer opportunities to reflect on the marriage of form and function in contemporary crafts.
In addition, the exhibition features goblets, vessels, jewelry, and non-functional works that allow a broader view of the concepts of ceremony and ritual. Self-consciously, contemporary artists sometimes choose to investigate the relationship between power, spirituality, and objects. They reference a broad range of sources—African rituals, Native American ceremonies, Western and non-Western religious traditions—as they create works that reverently speak to the desire to imbue materials and items with extraordinary meaning. The work they create references ritual objects even if they are no longer meant to be used in the same way.
Artists in the Exhibition
Carolyn Morris Bach, Fong Choo, Carol Eckert, Erwin Eisch, Fred Fenster, Ken Ferguson, Keido Fukazawa, Terri Gelenian-Wood, John Glick, Chris Gustin, Dorothy Hafner, William Harper, Lillian Elliot and Pat Hickman, Jan Hopkins, Karen Karnes, Patti Lechman, Linda MacNeil, Nichibei Potters and Cynthia Constantini and Mikio Maksumoto, Laura Marth, Francina Kraynek Prince, Nan Roche, ROY (Rosemary Gialamas), JoAnne Russo, Judith Salomon, Adrian Saxe, Mark Shapiro, Chris Staley, Cathy Strokowsky, Michael Frimkess and Magdalena Suarez, Toshiko Takaezu, Susan Twymann, John A. Whitney, William Wilhelmi, and Noël Yoyovich