Lacouture looks forward, back in Newport Art Museum exhibition

Two distinct bodies of work – one exploring the teapot idiom and another featuring classically inspired Mingware porcelain – are on display in art professor Jay Lacouture’s Newport Art Museum exhibition “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” which is on display in the museum’s Wright Gallery through May 14.

“The Ubiquitous Teapot” features a collection of teapot forms that Lacouture has produced during his 40-year career. The earliest piece was made in 1979 in West Virginia during his first year of graduate school, while the latest work, a porcelain tea server, was fired in 2015.

“The teapot presents the potter with the opportunity to bring together disparate parts to form a unified whole,” Lacouture writes in his artist’s statement. “I find that the relationship to function is not a limitation, but rather a liberation.”

For the “Post-Industrial Mingware Series,” Lacouture includes an array of classically inspired blue and white porcelain made since his 2009 sabbatical experience in the “Porcelain City” of Jingdezhen, China, where he spent five weeks as a visiting artist in West Virginia University/Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute’s international ceramic program.

“I have chosen to present this series in a ‘porcelain room’ type of format, a sort of ceramics library,” Lacouture writes. “It is an homage to the history of the highly decorative works of the Ming period’s elegant porcelain production.”

Lacouture will discuss his work during an artist’s talk scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 9, during the museum’s monthly Art After Dark gathering. The talk is free and Art After Dark is free or by donation.

A member of the Salve Regina faculty for 36 years, Lacouture holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art and ceramics from Rhode Island College and an MFA in ceramics from West Virginia University. In 2015, he received the Antone Fund for Academic Excellence’s recognition award for his dedication and enthusiasm for the University’s art program. That same year, he helped to execute the annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, placing Salve Regina in the spotlight of the national conference.

“My teaching and artistic career have been woven into the fabric of my life thanks, in large part, to the support of my home institution,” Lacouture writes. “I am thankful for the support of many colleagues, both faculty and administrators, who have helped sustain my creative development during this time.”

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