Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Invitational Exhibition:
Artists Who Work in Series
A Woman's Journey
Architectural clay (gas-fired), oxide wash, pebble glaze and gouache,
series of 10 vessels
Height from 14" – 42" X 12" X 11" (2004)
Excerpt from Pittsburgh Post Gazette by art critique Mary Thomas for “A Woman’s Journey:”
The figure is also the subject of Ceil Leeper Sturdevant’s exceptional “A Women's Journey” though it's highly abstracted. The artist shows gutsy confidence with a medium that offers special challenges to those who work large, and the 10 pieces here, while pursuing a particular motif, are also a gathering of like but varied forms that demonstrate the range of her technical wizardry. Inspired by her mother, the very tactile work conflate vessel, an ancient symbol for women, and sculpture, with the implied figure as a looming emotive presence. Sturdevant taps archetypal references, such as the spiral, to promote elemental if subconscious response from the viewer toward these highly successful works.
Excerpt from Review by Kurt Shaw, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March, 2004:
Unlike some artists who are trapped in their own expertise, unable to abandon it or even experiment beyond it, Ceil Sturdevant is able to move in different directions in order to build upon the vernacular she has already created out of gas-fired architectual clay and unusual surface treatment.
Typically, Sturdevant's works are tied to the figure in some way or other and feature rough, oftentimes pebbly, glazes accentuated with gouache over painting. Here in a series of 10 vessels, the importance of those surfaces are heightened even more. She has abandoned all notions of literal figurative interpretations and instead chosen vessel form as a metapor for femininity, particularly as it relates to her childhood memories of her mother, and more specifically as those memories related to touch. And to emphasize this she invites her audience to just that, which is a wonderful idea that brings Sturdevant's concepts full circle for anyone inclined to do so.