Tea central theme in new exhibit at George Fox
George Fox University is hosting an exhibit by noted ceramic artist Jonathan Steele at its Minthorne Gallery, located with the school's Hoover Building.
The exhibit, which opened Monday and will continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Jan. 27, contains dozens of the Seattle native's works and is dubbed "In the Service of Tea."
"Tea is a quiet joy – art is a fervid one," Steele said in a press release. "I make the tea to be still, observe the present moment, to watch slowly unfurling leaves, feel the weight of the warm cup pressing against my fingertips, steam rising through my nostrils, the sweet, light astringency of the perfect steep welling on my tongue.
"I make the teapot, the cup, the tray and boat, the floral arrangement, the interior décor, the room and the house itself – all to the same end."
Tea is such a central aspect to Steele's work that he will perform a Chinese tea service during an opening reception set for 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the gallery. An artist's talk will follow from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St.
Steele came late to art, having previously submersed himself in the world of academia.
"I always thought I was going to be a scientist," he said. "It wasn't until I had a physics degree and was thinking about an internship in a lab that I realized that I was an artist because instead of tightly controlled variables in my experiments for the sake of repeatable data and the logical development of theory, I prefer to pile on variables for the sake of aesthetic poignancy."
To that end, he earned a master's degree in fine arts from Oregon College of Arts and Craft in Portland in 2016, then completed an artist-in-residency program at Pleasant Hill Pottery near Eugene. There he organized wood firings for the community and continued his work.
For more information on the exhibit, call Jennifer Salzman at 503-554-2634.
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