Southern Utah Museum of Art hosts Andy Nasisse Badlands exhibit
Andy Nasisse’s “Howling Hills,” photo courtesy of Southern Utah Museum of Art

Andy Nasisse’s “Badlands” exhibit will be on display at the Southern Utah Museum of Art Sept. 23–Oct. 31. The exhibit is a collection of sculptures and photographs that explore the arid environment in Utah. Nasisse will speak about the exhibit at a reception Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. Both the exhibit as well as the reception are free and open to the public.

Nasisse was born in Colorado and had his first ceramics class at the age of 21 at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. In 1973, he studied photography and completed his master’s degree in ceramics at the University of Colorado. Nasisse went on to become a full-time professor of ceramics at the University of Georgia for 30 years where he also served as the gallery director for 10 years. He owned and served as a gallery director for Trace Gallery in Athens, Georgia. Nasisse currently lives in Salt Lake City and works as an independent studio artist.

Through many years of working with clay, Nasisse was able to develop a method of working with the material that enhances its natural qualities.

“By multiple firing, and layering of slips and glazes, I try to make objects that have stratified active surfaces [which] snap and crackle with energy,” said Nasisse. “I am looking for meaning and content in the dynamics of the process and trying to apply this to my general aesthetic or world view.”

Nassise uses figures, vessels, and landscapes to explore the tension between opposites in his work. Some of his topics of exploration include light and dark, male and female, ration and intuition, night and day, and matter and spirit.

“The notion that our lives are bound by a mythic drama that unfolds spontaneously and that there is an underlying geometry, hidden patterns, and layered meanings to all we see is a preoccupation that informs much more than just my work,” he said. “The essence of this exhibition is to present an aesthetic approach to making art that emerges in two rather different media, but that shares a common vision. When I choose to make a photograph, I look for aspects in the landscape that suggest faces and figures that are hidden in the natural forms. Likewise, when I create a piece of sculpture, I work in a way that allows me to find similar images in the clay.”

Nasisse has received numerous awards for his art and has been published in multiple books and magazines.

Everyone attending the Oct. 9 reception will have an opportunity to win a ceramic piece by Susan Harris, an art professor at Southern Utah University who specializes in ceramics.

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