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Delaware Valley University celebrates ceramic artist


Join Delaware Valley University at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in the Life Sciences Building auditorium for a special event celebrating the opening of “Themes Without Borders,” a gallery exhibition by well-known artist Mariko Swisher.

The afternoon will feature a concert by the University’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Band, followed by a reception for the artist. All are welcome, and there is no cost to attend. Guests do not need to register in advance.

Inspired by Swisher’s ceramics, the concert will feature works by Viet Cuong, Yo Goto and Darius Milhaud, American composers who drew artistic inspiration from the culture and heritage of their ancestral homelands. The event is designed to celebrate the diverse voices of talented American artists and reflect on the strength of diverse cultural identities.

Swisher was born in Sendai, Japan. A licensed calligrapher, kimono, and tea enthusiast, she began her ceramics study in Japan. After arriving in New York City, Swisher studied ceramics at Greenwich House Pottery, seminars at the 92nd Street Y, and the Skylands, N.J. workshops.

During her studies, she met and studied with artists including Akio Takamori, Don Reitz, Peter Voulkos and Rudy Autio.

While Swisher’s work is inspired by ancient and ethnic cultures, her intricately glazed surfaces convey themes from nature developed from her notes and drawing.

Swisher’s ceramic work is inspired by the patterns, symmetry and rhythm inherent in the natural world. Each new form is wheel thrown or sculpted with a simple theme in mind.

Low fire and smooth-bodied terracotta or white earth allow for greater control in line quality and color consistency. She strives for a synthesis of “nature’s calligraphy” with her own calligraphy experience. The designs that follow consider the contour of the vessel in this respect.

“Organic and calligraphic wildlife forms are embroidered and contrasted with hard-edged geometric patterns and this dual relationship perhaps most characterizes my work,” said Swisher. “Though quite removed from my heritage in Japan’s pottery tradition, my ceramics build on the initial influence of the ancient, folk, and ethnic. These are themes without borders, developed in my own experiment and time to celebrate, cherish and share.”

Swisher’s exhibition runs until March 23 in the University’s Life Science Building Atrium Gallery, located on the second floor.