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Moravian College Ceramic Artist Featured at Allentown Art Museum

Renzo Faggioli to give gallery talk in September

Bethlehem, Pa., July 8, 2005—The Art Museum of Allentown will honor Renzo Faggioli, a sculptor in ceramics who is a member of the art faculty at Moravian College, with a retrospective of his work.

“Nature and Traditions: Ceramics by Renzo Faggioli” runs July 10 to October 2, 2005, in the museum’s Payne Hurd Gallery. It features works from the 1970s to some created just for this exhibit. The curator is Christine I. Oaklander, director of collections and exhibits at the museum.

Faggioli, born in Italy in 1940, studied the art of ceramic sculpture at the state Scuola Ceramica della Robbia, in Florence. The school, named for the Renaissance master ceramicist Andrea della Robbia, granted Faggioli the status of Master Craftsman in Ceramics. Faggioli studied also with Alfred Rhodes, an American master, at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and at Carnegie-Mellon University.

He has been an artist-in-residence at Moravian College since 1986 and also teaches at the Baum School of Art in Allentown. In 2004, he received an Arts Ovation Award for Visual Arts from the Allentown Arts Commission.

Faggioli says his inspiration comes from the Etruscan ancestors of ancient Rome, “they never had an army, they were not conquerors, they had no kings or queens,” he says. “They lived entirely from the skills that they developed in architecture, and in the multitudes of useful objects that they created, many in ceramic, to simply make their lives more enjoyable.”

His own pieces range from elegant urns and vases to oversize fruit to simplified female forms. He works in glazes and firings from stoneware to raku.

The first photograph accompanying this release shows “In the Beginning” (1978), made of clay stoneware fired with a luster glaze. The basic shape is an egg, symbol of the beginning of life in almost all the world’s cultures. But what emerges from the hatching end is not a bird but an M.C. Escher-like construction of interlocking stairs, blocks, and pyramids.