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FAU Exhibition Features Works by Retiring Professor and Ceramic Artist John McCoy and his Students

BOCA RATON (January 12, 2010) – The University Galleries in the School of the Arts in  Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will present “John McCoy & Friends,” an exhibition featuring retiring professor of art and ceramic artist John McCoy, and several of his former students and friends. The exhibition will run from Saturday, January 23 through Friday, March 5 in the Ritter Art Gallery on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. There will be an opening reception in the Ritter on Friday, January 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

McCoy is retiring from FAU after 36 years of teaching in the department of visual arts and art history. During his tenure, he developed the department’s ceramics program through teaching several different courses, as well as eventually developing the department’s masters of fine arts degree program in ceramics. Several graduates of the program are participating in the exhibition including Giannina Dwin (MFA 2007), Scott Lammer (MFA 2005), Mark MacDonald (MFA 2005) and Brian Sommerville (MFA 2006). While most of the students’ works are in ceramics, Dwin and John Cutrone (BFA 2009) work in idioms and media distinct from ceramics. Dwin makes sculptural installations, performances and public art, while Cutrone is a book artist.

Before coming to FAU, McCoy graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana and served as an instructor at Valley City State College in North Dakota. He has exhibited his work regionally and nationally at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs; Clay Space Gallery, Miami; Boca Raton Museum of Art; Rourke Gallery, Moorehead, Minnesota; and San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, Texas.  In 2006, McCoy was included in “Out of Fire, Celebrating 10 years of Eastern Kentucky Anagama Firings,” a juried exhibition at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, the nation’s leading academic organization for ceramic arts.

McCoy’s ceramic art remains close to the ancient traditions of ceramic production as informed by a revival and blossoming of interest and activity in ceramics in America after World War II through the 1970s. McCoy’s wheel thrown vessels, bowls and other container forms are meticulously crafted by hands thoroughly steeped in experience with clay and the history of ceramics. While he leaves little to chance in creating his forms, the high temperature wood firing techniques he prefers often yield uncontrollable and pleasantly surprising surface patterns and color. While McCoy favors the traditions of pottery over more expressive sculptural form in his own work, the exhibition will demonstrate that he has encouraged and influenced students whose works are quite diverse and very different from his.

McCoy’s teaching philosophies owe much to Rudy Autio, the professor he studied under as a graduate student at the University of Montana. Rather than provide students with too many examples of other artists’ works, which McCoy thinks can stifle young artists, he prefers to observe and gently guide advanced students to develop independently through their own “discoveries” even if those discoveries are not completely unique to the larger art world.

McCoy came to FAU when there were under 4,000 students at the University compared to the 28,000 of 2009. The department of art at that time had very few faculty members, and all classes were taught by tenured or tenure-seeking professors. Today many art courses are taught by graduate students and adjunct faculty. While McCoy bemoans the loss of closer professor/student contact of the past, he is also proud and impressed with the high level of accomplishments of the current larger faculty which he has helped to shape. 

For further information about the exhibition, call 561-297-2966.


About Florida Atlantic University:                                                                                            

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,  the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.  

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