Cups on display as work of art

Jennifer Zemanek

A glazed baby blue and orange swirl tea cup sits in Rockwell Hall priced at $100 — not something you would ever see at a child’s tea party.

The Fifth Annual National Juried Cup Show held its opening reception last night in the Tarter/Miller Gallery of the Kent State Museum.

Juror and Kent State graduate Renee Fairchild selected 37 works of art from more than 200 entries.

Fairchild said she received slides of the cups with colorful patterns painted on them, but had a friend set up the slideshow of the works, so she could remain completely unbiased.

Reviewing a three-dimensional work of art on a slide is difficult, Fairchild said.

“I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was going to see when I walked in,” she said. “But I am very impressed, not only with the 37 chosen pieces, but all the entries I received.”

The cups are all unique. Some are caved in on one side, some are rectangular and thin and all are painted with different colors.

Fairchild said she chose the pieces based on decoration and form, not functionality.

“The first thing I noticed when looking at the slides is the decoration of the cups,” Fairchild said. “I definitely wasn’t looking for something someone would find in a kitchen.”

Anderson Turner, coordinator of the event and a member of the adjunct faculty within the School of Art, said most of the cups are for sale.

The show opened Wednesday, and three pieces were sold right away.

Lana Heckendorn’s “Pair of thumb long cups,” Alisa Holen’s “Pillow Cups” and Davie Reneau’s “Anagama-Fired Tea bowl with Assiette” were sold.

However, Heather O’Brien’s “Symbiosis Series P.U.T.” won The Best in the Show award.

The media O’Brien used was mid-range porcelain and black body. The piece of art consisted of a cup and saucer. The cup was a small, cream-colored cup with a black saucer plate with a hole in the middle to place the cup.

Cups are not always considered works of art.

Turner said the use of the museum, which is different from previous years, gave the cups more of a displayed art look, as the cups appeared under Plexiglas.

Turner said he was also gracious for the use of the museum.

“Using the museum provides opportunities to continue a relationship with the School of Art and the museum,” he said. “This show may be the best ever because of the fact of where it is held and the displayed look of the art.”

Contact fine and professional arts reporter Jennifer Zemanek at [email protected].