Studio Nong is an international collective of educators/artists from the GuangXi Arts Institute in Nanning, China, the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee. Dividing its time between Southern China and the United States, the collective works together to create a body of work that reflects shared interests in figurative ceramic sculpture as well as the diverse traditions found within the group. The eight members are: Professor Zhenhai He (GAI), Professor Jigang Qin (GAI), Associate Professor Bangmin Nong (GAI), Lecturer Shanwu Huang (GAI) and their American counterparts, Associate Professor Jessie Fisher (KCAI), Assistant Professor Misty Gamble (KCAI), Lecturer Scott Seebart (KCAI/UMKC) and Associate Professor Leandra Urrutia (Memphis College of Art).
In the summer of 2011, Misty Gamble invited Jessie Fisher and Leandra Urrutia to the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts for an AIA Residency led by Gamble. It was there that they met and worked with the Master Sculptor, Bangmin Nong, with whom they formed an immediate friendship and an aesthetic connection. At the center of that connection was clay and the study of sculptural form based on topics rooted in figuration and formal mastery. In the summer of 2013, the group was joined by Scott Seebart and these four American artists and educators traveled to China for an intensive six-week collaboration and cultural exchange of traditions andapproaches to painting and sculpture.
In the southern province of China, the American artists worked together at Studio Nong and the Huayi NiXing Pottery Company, where they developed close relationships with four sculptors and professors from the GuangXi Arts Institute, Nanning, in the GuangXi Provence of Southern China. Their ongoing exchange of methodologies (stemming from common interests) produced a wide range of work during such a compressed and intensive period. With sculptural works ranging from academic figuration to mixed-media installation and image-based works of illusory space and calligraphic abstractions, these artists produced an impressive start to their growing collaboration.
The American artists will now return to China in the summer of 2016 with the addition of a 5th internationally recognized figurative sculptor, Paolo Porelli of CRETA Rome Residencies, and three student interns to work in the new Studio Nong facilities in Jingdezhen and Nanning City, China.
Please join the eight members of the Studio Nong Collective for a gallery talk and reception at Weinberger Fine Art, 114 Southwest Blvd. KC,MO 64108 on Thursday, March 17th 5-9pm.
Professor Zhenhai He, born in 1958 in LiuZhou City, China, graduated in 1985 from the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute (B.A.) and in 1988 from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (M.F.A.). His work, influenced by temple architecture, has been shown in over fifty invitational exhibitions in China and abroad. Currently, Professor He is the Director of the Sculpture program at the GuangXi Arts Institute.
Professor Jigang Qin, born in 1959 in LiuZhou City, China, graduated in 1987 from the GuangXi Arts Institute (B.A) and in 1997 from the Japan Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music (M.A) in sculptural arts, studying with a pupil of Mailol. His current practice, stemming from his initial focus in Academic figuration, has progressed into the study of human and natural vessel forms influenced by the poetics of Chinese landscape painting. He is currently a professor of sculpture of GuangXi Arts Institute.
Associate Professor Bangmin Nong, born in 1981 in Tianyang, China, graduated in 2005 and 2009, from the GuangXi Arts Institute (B.A., M.A.), and West Virginia University, in 2012 (M.F.A). Nong creates figurative clay sculpture that focuses attention on the intersection of architecture and human psychology. Nong is currently an Associate Professor at the GuangXi Arts Institute.
Lecturer Shanwu Huang, born in 1974, in Pingguo, China, graduated in 2000 from the GuangXi Arts Institute (B.A.). Through Huang’s use of the multiple and mixed media in his current body of work, he centers his context on the displacement of identity. Specializing in ink painting, calligraphy and metalsmithing, he is currently a Lecturer at the GuangXi Arts Institute.
Associate Professor Jessie Fisher holds a B.F.A. degree in fine art from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. degree in painting and drawing, with a minor in printmaking, from the University of Iowa. She has studied at the Scoula Internationale della Grafica in Venice, Italy, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and apprenticed with Studio Balma, Minneapolis. Fisher has exhibited nationally and internationally, including, the Weisman Museum of Art, the Des Moines Art Center, the American Museum of Art, the Guilin Museum of Art, in Guilin China, the Palazzo dei Cartelloni and Maidoff Center for the Arts in Florence, Italy and the Galleria Il Bocca al Lupo at the International Center for the Arts in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy. Fisher is currently an Associate Professor in Painting at the Kansas City Art Institute and a visiting critic at the International Center for the Arts in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy.
Assistant Professor Misty Gamble’s current work, life-size ceramic figurative sculptures and installations of multiple figurative fragments, focuses attention on issues surrounding femininity and challenges conventional standards of morality, normalcy and propriety. She has been a guest artist (both long term and short term) at Watershed, Project Art, C.R.E.T.A Rome, and The Armory. Gamble is an Assistant Professor in the School of Foundation at the Kansas City Art Institute. Before receiving her MFA from San Francisco State University in the visual arts, she worked as an agent, publicist, and event producer in music and the performing arts.
Lecturer Scott Seebart received his BFA from the University of Minnesota, a Post-Baccalaureate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and his MFA with a minor in Printmaking from the University of Iowa. He has studied at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands and at the Scoula della Grafica in Venice, Italy. Seebart has taught at the University of Iowa, Wartburg University, the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is currently a Lecturer in Painting at the Kansas City Art Institute. Seebart lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri with the painter Jessie Fisher and their son Valentine.
Associate Professor Leandra Urrutia born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Urrutia began drawing and sculpting at an early age, influenced by the rich culture and traditions of her Mexican American heritage. Through her art, Ms. Urrutia addresses discordant elements of intimacy including attraction, repulsion, balance, disparity, perseverance and power. Ms. Urrutia is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art and currently serves the faculty and administration of Memphis College of Art.