By Chris Bahr
I dropped by the Orazio Salati Studio and Gallery on a recent Saturday afternoon to check out his holiday art exhibition, a nice collection of high-end art and crafts. Cindy Henry’s mixed-media pieces was represented as well as work by photographer and architect Greg Chianis. Both are part of Orazio’s stable of artists as is Fern Pritikin Lynn, ceramic artist.
As I was checking out the art, a tall, distinguished woman offered her assistance. I found out she was the ceramic artist FPL (for short) and began to interview her. I was going to review the exhibition but had such an engaging chat that this is what came out of my visit instead.
FPL’s work has been on my radar for years. I have enjoyed seeing her artfully crafted ceramic jars with lids done in the Raku technique of glazing and firing. She described in great detail the texturing, glazing, color choices and finishes she uses. When you look at her beautiful work, you can tell how much effort went into it. She recently started making functional pieces, such as slab-built trays and cups.
FPL started her career in ceramics 30 years ago in Chicago. She grew to love the art form, and, when her family was living in Northern California (where a lot of ceramic artists reside and work), she continued her education. FPL told me that she didn’t attend art school got a great education with the same professors who taught at art schools through her ceramics classes in the community. I thought that was great.
We discussed Penland School in North Carolina and Cynthia Bringle, a star in the field of ceramics who lives in that area. FPL told me she had always wanted to meet her. I told her about going to Penland with a group of fellow students and having the chance to meet Bringle, a down-to-earth artist who served us tea from one of her own teapots.
I strongly encourage the public to visit Salati’s gallery at 204 State St., Binghamton, and see FPL’s work as well as that of the other talented and creative individuals represented in the holiday exhibition (running through January). The work is affordable and also displayed to give one an idea of how to incorporate the beautiful ceramics with perhaps a photograph by Chianis.
One photo in particular in juxtaposition with one of FPL’s vessels struck me as something that would look great in a design magazine layout, or someone’s home that was well curated. The print by Chianis was called “Rosa” and was a photograph he took in Italy after an earthquake. The wall was a beautiful rose color and a single chair with a blue seat sat in the frame. A large crack in the wall made an amazing texture which echoed FPL’s pink vessel with crackle finish. $450 for the photograph and the vessel — very reasonable.