This winter, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
presents Limitless: The 2021 Recipients of ClayHoustons Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists, an exhibition of work by Jihye Han, Tammie Rubin, and Earnest Snell. As members of the Texas clay community, these artists represent the versatility of clay, exemplifying the limitless potential of processes, forms, and styles, through narratives related to identity, acculturation, and belonging. The works on view demonstrate how clay as a material eloquently captures the ever-changing nature of identity, while embodying the gritty narratives of the human condition.
As a member-based organization dedicated to cultivating, promoting, and advancing the ceramic arts in Houston and beyond, ClayHouston created this inaugural awards program to bring attention and funding to outstanding Texas-based ceramicists who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC). ClayHouston President Jessica Phillips commented, Since 2020, the ClayHouston board has spent time reflecting upon the field of ceramics, both locally in Houston, as well as more broadly in the US. Our goal is to support artists who are affected by systemic racism as well as the economic uncertainty that COVID has created. By creating the Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists, we hope to cultivate greater equity, inclusivity, and access in ceramic arts.
The awards were juried by nationally renowned artists Natalia Arbelaez (Miami, FL), Adam Chau (Cold Spring, NY), Jennifer Ling Datchuk (San Antonio, TX), and Roberto Lugo (Philadelphia, PA). In response to a positive influx of applications, they requested to include a third award, Honorable Mention, in addition to Emerging and Mid Career and Beyond awards. The exceptional level of talent demonstrated by Han, Rubin, and Snell foregrounds the importance of elevating BIPOC perspectives and their triumphs. Through the artists personal insights into the complexities of identity, they reveal nuances about how individuals relate to one another.
Limitless: The 2021 Recipients of the ClayHouston Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists is curated by HCCC Curatorial Fellow Cydney Elaine Pickens.
Jihye Han, Emerging Award Recipient
Jihye Han, working in Houston, Texas, received her BFA in sculpture and ceramics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her MFA in ceramics from the University of North Texas. She has exhibited at 500X Gallery (Dallas, TX), CICA Museum (Gimpo, South Korea), Clay Center of New Orleans, and other venues. She is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including a 2021 Graduate Student Fellowship for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and a 2022 residency with Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Tammie Rubin, Mid Career & Beyond Recipient
Born in Chicago, IL, Tammie Rubin is currently Associate Professor of Ceramics and Sculpture at St. Edwards University in Austin, TX. Rubin received her BFA in ceramics and art history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA in ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has exhibited nationwide at Women & Their Work (Austin, TX), The South Dallas Cultural Center (Dallas, TX), Rockford Art Museum, and other venues. Rubin founded Black Mountain Project, along with fellow Austin-based artists Adrian Aguilera and Betelhem Makonnen. Currently, she is a member of the non-profit cooperative gallery, ICOSA Collective, and serves as Vice Chair of the City of Austins Cultural Arts Division Art in Public Places Panel.
Earnest Snell, Honorable Mention Recipient
Earnest Snell is a self-taught artist located in Houston, TX. He is currently represented by Foelber Gallery and Pottery Studio and has been working with ceramics for 15 years. In early 2021, he had a solo exhibition at Foelber Gallery, entitled, Earnest Snell at 70. A Retrospective in Clay.