Two ceramics alumni from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design have been selected as 2019 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Emerging Artists.

Qwist Joseph (who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from UNL in 2016) and Sean Scott (MFA 2005) were among six artists nationally selected for the honor. NCECA’s Emerging Artists program recognizes exceptional early career artists, highlighting them to an international audience during NCECA’s annual conference. The award is intended to recognize, cultivate and amplify vital, new voices of creative endeavor in ceramics.

The artists each receive a monetary award, complimentary registration for the March 27-30 NCECA Annual Conference in Minneapolis and an additional year’s membership to NCECA.

Jurors for this year’s competition were School of Art, Art History & Design art professor Eddie Dominguez, along with Linda Sikora of Alfred University (New York) and Julia Galloway of the University of Montana in Missoula.

“What’s interesting is that Sean was here 14 years ago, and Qwist was a recent grad, so it’s exciting to see our students doing so well,” Dominguez said. “Sean represents the functional pottery realm, and Qwist was picked because he’s doing really innovative, sculptural mixed media art.”

Joseph received his BFA from Colorado State University, and his MFA from UNL. In 2016, he was selected as an emerging artist by Ceramics Monthly and awarded a summer residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana.

He has shown nationally and internationally, and last year he was commissioned to create public works for the Davidson Sculpture Garden in Riverside, California, and the New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colorado.

He is currently a resident artist at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program in New Mexico.

“I'm honored to be recognized by NCECA, and I am thrilled to have such a fantastic platform to present my work,” Joseph said.

Joseph is interested in using ancient processes in a contemporary context. By combining clay, bronze, wood and found objects, he makes mixed media sculptures that push against the limits of material hierarchies. Working intuitively, he creates order and meaning from the fluid nature of the creative thought process. To see his work, visit qwistjosph.com.

Scott earned his BFA from Ohio University and an MFA from UNL. Since then, he has operated Pomme de Terre Pottery near Battle Lake, Minnesota. He exhibits his work nationally and teaches workshops.

The vessels Scott creates are meant to enrich the experience of storing, serving and consuming food and drink. The aesthetics reflect a personal sense of place where he lives in rural Minnesota. Scott intends for each piece to be an interactive component in a collaboration between maker, user and environment.

“Sean’s work appears, at first glance, to be traditional, but it is also unique,” said UNL art professor Pete Pinnell. “It doesn’t look like anyone else’s pottery. These objects are carefully and skillfully made, with precise joints, perfectly fitted lids and spouts that pour flawlessly. Sean brings a technical virtuosity to his work that, because of its quietness, is not apparent at first glance.”

To see Scott's work, seanscottclay.com.

Dominguez said the Emerging Artist program is one of the most exciting parts of the NCECA Annual Conference.

“It’s very well-attended, and people completely look forward to it,” he said. “They’re the stars of the new generation. It’s a good honor. Everyone is curious who is next.”


L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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