Schoolcraft teachers present their sculptures
By Elizabeth Casella
Professors Robert Bielat, John Albert Murphy and Daniel Borton have come together to display their works of ceramics and sculptures to the public. These works of art can be seen at the Livonia Civic Center in the Fine Arts Gallery located on the second floor in a showcase called “Three Dimensional Art in Sculpture and Ceramics.”
The gallery exhibits several works of 3-D art from Bielat, Murphy and Borton, who also display their works in museums and collections all over the world. The professors have won awards for their works and have been developing art for most of their lives. Each has a different journey, but they are now all working as art teachers in the fields of ceramics, sculpture and Continuing Education at Schoolcraft College.
Bielat has worked at Schoolcraft for twenty years and graduated with a fine arts degree in ceramics from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He is inspired by top graphic studies with artificial features involving bronze bi-metal cast pieces, which is a process where two alloys are poured and centrifugally cast into one metallurgical bonded gear blank.
The main piece of Bielat’s work involves the concept of, descending and looking out the window when in an airplane. “When coming down on the
ground, there is a monumental piece such as a lake. In my piece, I portrayed the view from the window just on a smaller scale,” according to Bielat.
Murphy started working in ceramics as a teacher in 1968 at Henry Ford Community College. Prior to ceramics, he made jewelry, but decided to major in ceramics at Eastern Michigan University where he fell in love with the art. Since then, he has been sharing his ceramics.
In 1992, Murphy started teaching at Schoolcraft College, and he has taught ceramics and Continuing Education classes involving ceramics. Inspired by the journey he is taking in life, he is showing slip cast porcelain pieces in the gallery that have a translucent quality to them. Slip casting is a technique where liquid clay is poured around the body into a slip and then is poured into plaster molds and allowed to form a layer called the cast on the inside cavity of the mold.
“The look I wanted to reminisce was abstract expressionism and pointillism specifically,” said Murphy.
One artwork by Murphy on display titled “Gravity,” was inspired by the popular 2013 movie of the same name, which portrayed a catastrophe in space. Several pieces show different messages, and “Gravity” has several similar pieces with a wave shell and an egg centered in the middle.
“I tell my students they should always have a message for their artwork. The message or meaning can be about current events, something that is enjoyed or a daydream. I sometimes daydream and work out ideas in my head and then my heart. It can take weeks or days, but my pieces always come from my heart,” said Murphy said.
Borton has been teaching at Schoolcraft since 2006 in several different departments. He is showing pieces of art that are functional, but still hold beauty. Overall, he would like viewers to see the elements behind making ceramics.
“I am showing a variety of ceramics that include functional artistic forms along with sculptures and wall reliefs. My work is inspired by the history of antiquity and pre-Columbian ceramics, as well as some of the great masters such as Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada,” said Borton.
The “Three-Dimensional Art in Sculpture and Ceramics” gallery can be found on the second floor of the Civic Center Library at 32777 Five Mile Road, Livonia MI 48154. The show is open until Oct. 31 during library hours: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The show is free and open to the public. Stop by and see the amazing works from local artists and Schoolcraft College professors.