In Laura Peery‘s current show, Serendipitea, there is a very cute balance between the clean craft and the perfectly poetic kitsch of her teapots.
The North Gallery of the Earl V. Dickerson Building at PVCC is lined with a dozen or so fantastical, bright, and whimsical tea pots, as they were snatched from the table of the Mad Hatter. The pottery is displayed on pedestals surrounded by museum-style plexiglass prisms. The teapots are sculpted as though they are made from fabric. Some resemble thick canvas, others mimic stitched leather. Each is uniquely decorated with an assortment of multi-media ornamentation, including clay flowers and leaves, buttons, metal pins, and white ribbons with words printed on them. Some of the white ribbons are made of clay, but many are printed magnets, like the sets sold to liven refrigerator doors. These words seems to sprout and grow from organic seams of the teapots. They read like disjointed cut-up poetry, but with words of calm and joy. They epitomize the mass youth dream of the tea party.
The way the sculptures are displayed makes their functionality irrelevant. I have a small yearning to pour brewed tea from them, but I am suspicious that the forms of Peery’s objects are not designed to enhance such steeping. Instead, the teapots are presented almost like archaeological finds. Their display as cultural and aesthetic art objects on the one hand makes the work less tangible as we cannot run our fingers over the myriad textured surfaces. On the other hand, this allows us a vantage point to consider and analyze these manifested teapots of dreams and imagine the wonderland worlds they originated from.
The show is well worth the short drive down route 20.
~Aaron Miller and Rose Guterbock