Art opening, exhibit at Strawn: ‘After the Break’

<strong>Art opening, exhibit at Strawn: ‘After the Break’</strong>

Kelly M. Gross
Director, The Art Association

The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to present ceramics and acrylic paintings by Jacksonville artist Hugh Henderson at The David Strawn Art Gallery, 331 W. College Ave., December 3-23. An opening reception will be held December 3 from 6-8 p.m. with a “Gallery Talk” at 6:30 p.m. The opening reception, Gallery Talk and gallery hours are free and open to the public.

Hugh Henderson spent the first years of his life in Benton but was raised in Mattoon. Several people influenced him to pursue art as a career including his fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Gertrude Neff; high school art teacher, Clark Sullivan; and Bill Boysen, who gave him an opportunity to teach Ceramics 101 for Southern Illinois Extension Services at the Alto Pass High School. This opportunity also led him to teach beginning ceramics classes at Shawnee Jr. College. Henderson ultimately earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Years later, Henderson decided on a career with the Burlington Northern Railroad. With this career, he enjoyed working and traveling in many remote locations and being in nature; however, it also took a toll on his body. Eventually retiring from the railroad, he slowly began to pursue pottery as a hobby.

In 1973, Henderson won 1st place for the Largest Thrown Pot in the Clay Olympics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and in 2008, he also won 1st place for the Smallest Thrown Pot at the Clay Olympics in San Diego.

In 2018, Henderson fell off a ladder and broke two bones in his left forearm, which required surgical plates to be implanted. A year after the plates were removed, he broke the same arm again trying to center clay. After a several-year hiatus from pottery, Henderson is throwing pots again. Hence, the name of the show, “After the Break.”

Henderson’s ceramics consist of domestic porcelain and stoneware made with hand dug clay from Kaolin Pond near Alto Pass. During the throwing process, the objects he intends to make often evolve into shapes he didn’t plan. His glazing is experimental, as he layers the glazes over a base glaze while observing how the colors interact with each other.

Originally, Henderson says, “I had ideas of wanting to be a painter but after realizing I couldn’t make a living painting, I decided to paint on pottery, making mostly functional pottery that people could use as well as admire as an object of beauty.” He goes on to say, “When I paint, I do it for my own enjoyment.”

Gallery hours for December 4-23 are Tuesday-Saturday from 4-6 p.m. and Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

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