Every year, Belmont Hill’s Landau Gallery displays a wide variety of stunning artwork from professional artists, alumni, and students. This fall, the gallery walls are filled with the vibrant earth tones of Ms. Kaplan’s summer ceramics work. She says that the majority of the gallery is comprised of a ceramics exploration that she completed this summer. Throughout the project, she pushed her personal artistic limits, experimenting with different styles, materials, and techniques. She will take most of these new methods to her ceramics classes and share them with her students.
Ms. Kaplan has been a committed artist and teacher at Belmont Hill for many years. Not only is she a talented ceramicist, but also a caring, passionate teacher. She can be seen prepping her room daily for Form I art classes, spending extra time in the studio with her advanced ceramics students, and talking with students all across campus. But what many do not know is that Ms. Kaplan spends a lot of her time on her own work, both at school and at home. This past summer, she worked almost every day on her pieces for this current show. “It was really about setting a goal for every day and trying to reach that goal,” she says of completing the project.
Ms. Kaplan says that the particular work was influenced by her love for the outdoors. She has spent a lot of time hiking in New Hampshire and has collected mementos of these experiences along the way. You can see these small objects in the gallery as part of the exhibit; they have been her inspiration throughout the process. The first part of the exhibit consists of geospheres. Front and center, the clay and plants inside of them mesh together to form one cohesive unit. These are inspired by alpine plants growing from rocks that occur in many different ecosystems and survive extreme elements.
Moving through the exhibit, there are a few different groupings of what Ms. Kaplan calls pods. These spherical and ovular objects are diverse in color, texture, and size. Most are meant to be lively and vibrant save a few on a pedestal at the end of the hall. These are made from colored clay and are lighter in color. They represent the end of life for a seed pod. Although the color is draining, life still remains inside. Ms. Kaplan comments that each of the works is made in response to one another. Each object naturally inspires other textures, ideas, and shapes.
The most central piece in the gallery consists of a large branch with ceramic maple tree pods spinning down off of it. “Everyone has been able to relate to [this work], it taps into your childhood, [it’s] a little bit more of a playful piece,” Ms. Kaplan says. The entire gallery is arranged in a manner that is flowing like that of a nature reserve. The variety in styles, hues, and vibrancy is conducive to a soothing experience. Ms. Kaplan attests that “everyone can find something that they find interesting and make a connection with.”