floating compression by k rhynus cesark

This porcelain and mixed-media site-specific sculpture, “Floating Compression I,” is among the artwork that will be on display at the CMC ArtShare Gallery Nov. 14-Jan. 4

By Carrie Cilck.

For those familiar with the work of the late architect Buckminster Fuller and his one-time student, sculptor Kenneth Snelson, the artwork of K Rhynus Cesark may strike a distant yet distinct chord. Cesark’s art is the focus of a solo exhibition, “Floating Compression,” at the CMC ArtShare Gallery in downtown Glenwood Springs from Nov. 14 through Jan. 4.

“The exhibition title, ‘Floating Compression,’ came from the term ‘tensegrity,’” said Cesark. Tensegrity, coined by Fuller, is used mainly as an architectural term to describe tensional integrity, the use of components in compression (such as bars) inside a net of continuous tension, in which the components, or bars, don’t touch each other.

Snelson further explored the concept, coining the term “floating compression.” Tensional integrity appears in biology as well, as it pertains to supportive muscles, tissues and tendons.

However, Cesark attributes her interpretation of floating compression less to Fuller and Snelson, but more to a conversation Cesark had with a colleague and friend, Alan Roberts.

“Many thanks to his insights,” she said about Roberts. “My interpretation of floating compression is not literal or direct in terms of Snelson or Fuller. Floating compression for me is metaphorical; it refers to relationships, communication and support or lack thereof.”

Porcelain-dipped tumbleweed

For this exhibit, Cesark is exhibiting pieces in several of the media in which she works: porcelain sculpture, encaustic paintings and a site-specific installation.

“Generally speaking, I make functional porcelain tableware, sculpture and encaustic paintings,” she said. “My love of ceramics and objects used in daily utility is expressed in my tableware and sculpture.”

Besides exhibiting her work nationally, Cesark teaches ceramics and painting at Colorado Mountain College in Aspen. She lectures and teaches workshops across the country and at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, where she is a former artist in residence. She is a fellowship recipient of the Colorado Council on the Arts for her ceramic sculpture and is the former executive co-director of the Carbondale Clay Center.

For Cesark, the art materials she uses are just as important as the art that is created out of them.

“I am a self-described ‘opportunivore’ of art materials,” she said. “I use or employ what material best suits the concept or idea I am attempting to convey.”

Cesark will begin working on a site-specific installation, a kind of small-scale porcelain world, on Nov. 10 in the CMC ArtShare Gallery, just days before the opening of her exhibit. The work is a grouping of porcelain houses as well as a few smaller porcelain sculptures.

“Some of the forms or imagery that will be included will be pillows, houses, birds and cups,” she said. “I will be exhibiting a new porcelain-dipped tumbleweed piece as well.”

Also on display will be porcelain pieces and encaustic paintings – both of which are media that require fire or heat.

“I cast encaustic into plaster molds very much like I cast porcelain into plaster molds,” she said. “The processes are very related for me. Fire or heat is involved in both ceramics and encaustic.  I have a tremendous respect for fire as it pertains to both media.”

Gratitude for college, gallery support

Cesark received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and a Master of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. She said she is thankful to Colorado Mountain College and to Alice Beauchamp, the CMC ArtShare Gallery director, for giving her the opportunity to exhibit her work.

“Colorado Mountain College is very dear to me,” Cesark said. “I have passionately taught at the Aspen campus since 1996 – I took a six-year ‘sabbatical’ to raise two children. I have been teaching ceramics and painting, collage and printmaking for the past seven consecutive years. As a community, we are very fortunate to have the depth of college-level studio art courses that are offered at many of the CMC campuses.”

The exhibit opens with an artist’s reception on Nov. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. “Floating Compression” will remain at the gallery through Jan. 4. The CMC ArtShare Gallery is at 802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., though hours will vary over the holidays. Contact 947-8367 or for more information.