IN A NOW - Functional April-June 2017

IN A NOW - Contemporary Function
Ursula Munch-Petersen DK & Steven Rolf USA
Exhibition 27 April - 10 June 2017
Contemporary art & function.. from pottery to industrial design.
The meeting between Danish ceramic artist designer Ursula Munch-Petersen and a younger American potter Steven Rolf sets the handmade and industrial product in a dialogue on ceramics for everyday use. (Portrait photos: Torsten Cott)

The exhibitors challenge function, design, tradition and the contemporary.
Ursula Munch-Petersen grew up with the Danish design & craft tradition for function, while Steven Rolf relates to American craft and Minnesota ceramics.

They both focus on utility and an idealistic relationship with the user, a high level of conscience and honesty to functional qualities and personal refinement of characteristics with traces of touch of hand and mind.

The excitement is finding interesting contexts in the meeting of the opposite, as in language tracing the wandering of words and meaning, or in the multi cultural to experience common reference points.

Inspiration from Japan and British Studio Pottery towards modern functional ware and contemporary concepts are also presented in the form of Tableau or Still-life of pieces by the Australian and Danish ceramic contemporary artists: Kirsten Coelho, Prue Venables, Anne-Mette Hjorthøj..
The exhibitors are united in their love of form, function and material in spite of distance, expression or cultural differences.

URSULA MUNCH-PETERSEN is acknowledged for her user-friendly design for industry.
From beautiful craftsmanship her work has become industrial design products, - still holding a sense of the handmade.
A honest relationship between touch of hands and use of common sense.

Ursula Munch-Petersen has created a myriad of works, tableware, experiments and prototypes of design for industrial or studio production, as well as unique pieces and public commissions.
Few has as Ursula succeeded in combining new design with craftsmanship.

This exhibition holds a selection of the previously made industrial pieces, which after the industry's quality 'failure' and 'outsourcing' have become valuable collectables, - jugs, plates, sets of bowls from a past Royal Copenhagen production and pieces from Ursula's studio.
The LAERKE tableware and URSULA - dishes, bowls, cups and jugs of strong colours and characteristic forms.

“As a potter, I make one of a kind functional objects that are meant to be used daily.
I have made a study of making objects that fit ones hand and hopefully engage the users eye, head, and heart as well.

My work celebrates the common daily routine of eating, drinking, storing and pouring.
Beautiful objects have the power to trigger thoughts and emotions. Interesting and beautiful clay pots do this for me because they are made of mud, and mud leaves a trail and a record of the makers touch capturing his or her ideas at the moment of making.
Pots additionally deal with containment. This containment relates to use, the body, volume, space and even containment of ideas as metaphor.

My work employs the physical process of layering which describes a sense of growth of the pot, both inward and outward. The addition and subtraction of the material leave a record of time in the work. Layering of wet clay over leather-hard clay is similar to the transformation of a landscape, such as an eroding riverbed.
As a maker of one-of-a-kind functional objects, I use the premise that I transmit feeling through the subtle touch in working.
My hope is that my pots will be used frequently in the daily routine of those who bring them into their homes and they will build their own connections in the way that they incorporate my work into their lives.”

"I have worked with clay and ceramics for over 60 years.
There have been numerous exhibitions along the way, and remains from here have ended up at the loft.
My work has been almost evenly divided between modelled objects and commissions - and tableware.
The one has not engaged more or been more important than the other.
Everyday objects require probably the most if you produce it yourself. With things in production, part of the work is collaboration with place of production and marketing.
For major public commissions, collaboration with studios is needed for extra space and kiln capacity. I have worked at The Tommerup Ceramic Workshop with great pleasure and the same for the National Studios for Arts and Crafts.
From one to the other, experience is new every time a new project arises.”

Grateful thanks to The Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Crafts and Design Project Funding of the Ann Linnemann Gallery in 2017.


URSULA MUNCH-PETERSEN was born in 1937 on the Danish island of Bornholm. Following her studio experience on The Hjort Factory in Rønne and education at the Arts&Crafts School (now: Royal Danish Academy Design school) 1956-60, she was employed at Artist Studios of the porcelain factory Bing & Grondahl 1961-68, and designer for The Royal Copenhagen and Kaehler. She has received numerous grants and awards including The Danish Arts Foundation, Denmark's National Banks Foundation, Bindesbøll Medal, Ole Haslund's Artist Award, Arts&Crafts Council, - is a Knight of the Dannebrog. Following an active life as a craftsman and designer with travelling, teaching and exhibitions in Denmark and abroad among others Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the USA, Mexico and China, she has her studio and home in Copenhagen and at the island of Møn. She designed among others faïence tableware 'Ursula' Royal Copenhagen in 1992, pieces in The Larch Set 1994 - and recent public commission is 'Timetable' for the Ancient Roman Road, Jutland 2010.

STEVEN ROLF lives and works as a studio potter in River Falls, Wisconsin, US, creating one-of-a-kind functional pots. His work reflects an ongoing search to unite his ideas with the generosity and the intimacy that the functional pot offers. “I continually play with shape and surface within parameters set by the intended purpose of the pot. These parameters open a world of exploration for me.”
He holds an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and a BS in Broad Area Arts from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. He also apprenticed under Wang Hui Ming, a master painter and wood engraver.
He exhibits his work throughout the United States and has received a number of national and international awards. He also lectures and teaches workshops throughout the country. His work resides in noted private and museum collections including: Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland OR, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis MN., Ulsan City Museum, Ulsan Korea, American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona California, and numerous kitchen cupboards.