Cups and teapot by Joseph Pintz. Courtesy LSU School of Art.

On Exhibit: ‘Eight Fluid Ounces’ at the LSU School of Art Glassell Gallery, through March 4

Acup of hot tea is an invitation to pause, breathe and savor one’s surroundings. Since 2004, the LSU School of Art has made the cup itself something to savor, elevating this utilitarian vessel into a font of beauty and creativity. The school’s biennial ceramic cup exhibition, “Eight Fluid Ounces,” is now on view at the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery inside the Shaw Center for the Arts, proving once again that the tiniest of containers can capture the imagination.

“The idea for the first show came from a conversation with ceramics instructor Michaelene Walsh,” says LSU School of Art Galleries director Kristin Malia Krolak. “We wanted to curate a ceramics exhibition, and she suggested that we create a cup show.”

Over the years, the show has evolved from a juried format to an invitational. This year’s curator, noted ceramic artist Joanna Powell, asked the selected group of 17 artists to submit 10 cups each, along with a vessel for pouring. Powell will also showcase her own cup creations. “A cup is probably the most complex thing to make,” Powell says. “It’s like cooking an egg for a chef; it’s essential to learn, yet the hardest to make well. In a good cup lives a culmination of all things we have seen in our lifetimes or things we have wondered about.”

Also on this year’s artist roster is Joseph Pintz of Iconceramics in Missouri. “He is one of my favorite potters,” says Krolak. “I love the simplicity of his shapes and the rustic yet sophisticated slips, terra sigillata, and glazes he uses. His works are soft and colorful and gorgeous.”

Two free special events will take place in conjunction with the exhibition: a lecture by Powell at 5 p.m. on February 21 in Room 103 of the LSU Design Building, and an artist reception at 6 p.m. February 22 at the Glassell Gallery.

“Nowhere else in the city can you find such a great collection of contemporary pottery in one cool space,” says Krolak. “It’s also a fun opportunity to enjoy the myriad of techniques and styles of making the most functional and ubiquitous of objects.”