Meet our Artists-in-Residence for 2023-2024
Ali Saunders makes ceramic vessels that are functional and visually appealing. She enjoys the idea of crafting an object that has the potential to be equally pleasant in use or viewed sitting on a shelf. This duality of function and appearance is highly intriguing to her. The objects she produces function well, but her commitment to the surface makes these objects more compelling. It is in the surface that a part of herself is revealed and it is in the surface she hopes the user finds solace and comfort.
Recently, she has been seeking to locate and define her position on the spectrum of utility by exploring the concept of celebration and how ceramics can be a vehicle for intimacy. She is interested in the moments we take to immerse ourselves in the present: wrapping our hands around a warm mug and sharing coffee with friends, sitting down to a meal that meets the decorated rim of the bowl it’s served in, filling a vase with fresh flowers and water. Contact with ceramic objects makes life dynamic. It creates opportunities to connect with each other and connect with ourselves. Repeated pattern is a central part of her work, since she grew up surrounded by textiles decorated with flowers made by mother and grandmothers. The use of floral pattern in her own work is an attempt to recreate the comfort found in handmade objects as a child. Ali is drawn to patterns found in nature and ideas of growth, life and abundance. Both the repetitive process used to ornament pots and the images in the finished objects bring calmness. It is Ali’s hope that the people who view or use her pots will share this sentiment and find some sense of enjoyment.
John Lark is a representational painter who creates oil paintings that depict interactions between figures and environments. In 2012 he received an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. His interest in art dates back to his childhood years in Michigan, where he frequently visited the Detroit Institute of Art and the Cranbrook Art Museum. It was there he developed a connection with, and enthusiasm for, abstract expressionism, minimalism and pop art. Lark graduated with a BFA, Cum Laude, in 2005 from University of Michigan School of Art and Design where his concentration was in figure painting and printmaking. He later studied abroad in Florence, Italy where his appreciation for Renaissance and Baroque periods blossomed. After graduation, Lark moved to New York City and took a post-baccalaureate semester at Columbia University. He realized his primary interests lay in representational painting and began graduate studies at the New York Academy of Art where he developed the style for which he is known today. Lark has participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions with New York galleries including the Ethan Cohen Gallery, the Untitled Space Gallery and the Van Der Plas Galley. Lark was the 2022/2023 Artist in Residence at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida and has returned for a second residency year for 2023/2024.