Artbeat

Don't make the mistake of wandering dismissively through "Susan Maguire: Asian Echo" as if it's just so much crockery. This collection of nearly three dozen ceramics dotting the spacious main gallery of the Coral Springs Museum of Art is more properly looked at as a sculpture show. Such is Maguire's command of her medium, although you'd never know it from her modesty. "It has taken me years to learn the technical complexity of working with clay and glazes," she says in an artist's statement, "but it will take my lifetime to master simplicity." Elsewhere in the exhibition handout, she approvingly quotes Leonardo da Vinci's dictum that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." As a statement of aesthetic, it's not a bad choice, especially when applied to works that so gracefully combine clean, fluid lines with a disarming array of subtle glazes. Take, for example, the pair of tall, thin vessels called Ancient Tides. They might pass for ordinary bud vases except that Maguire has made them ever-so-slightly irregular and applied a simple but effective twist that takes them into the realm of sculpture. Or the bowl that transcends its humble utilitarian origins through raku firing with single strands of horse hair applied, a technique dating to the end of the 16th Century. For Gifts From the Fire, Maguire takes two big, round plates that have been thrown and fired, then shatters and reassembles them, to dramatic effect. And in a handful of pieces, she combines her stoneware with metal, bamboo, and feldspar fittings to create miniature structures that resemble houses – a surprisingly charming transformation that suggests there's not much Maguire can't do with ceramics. (On display through February 21 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Call 954-340-5000.)

 
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