“Current Visions” is a collection of ceramic shapes and forms describing what is of value in Leila Denecke’s life: the St. Croix valley where she lives, and her studies in Japan.
The functional and sculptural pieces are refined and graceful. Each piece expresses a simplicity that is only found in authentic expression.
Leila’s sculptural forms are smooth and stately monoliths as well as sharp blades that could have been ancient tools used by the indigenous people who lived in the St Croix valley. The architectural forms are containers that remind me of the scenic views in the St Croix valley; silos, a barn shape called “Kura Crib Box” and Ikebana vessels shaped like a bridge and a boat. The River trays resemble the river bottoms when the water washes away leaving the sand & metals behind.
My favorite is “Noren – Topographic Diptych” – two slabs of earth etched with convergent marks that look like the railroad tracks that hug the St. Croix River and connect Osceola and Marine. Leila’s work is like that for me. Her pieces connect me to my place here on the St Croix River.
This exhibition is currently on display in the Atrium Gallery of the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI. It is the first in a series of collaborations between the Phipps Center and the Northern Clay Center of Minneapolis, MN, celebrating the St Croix River Watershed and the many ceramic artists who live within it. It will be on view until November 17th.