CU Art Prof to Show Sculptures in Two Galleries

For Immediate Release: 
Oct 08 2006

CONTACT: James Biggs, Instructor in Art

CU Art Prof to Show Sculptures in Two Galleries

Athens, W.Va. – The sculpture of Mr. James Biggs, instructor in art at Concord University, will be on exhibition in two shows. Both shows are free and open to the public.

Mr. Biggs’ sculpture will be featured in a one-man show in the Miller Gallery in the Kline Campus Center at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Va., from October 9 through November 21. The Miller Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Biggs will present a lecture in the Boitnott Room on Monday, October 16 at 4 p.m. Guests may meet Mr. Biggs at a reception that will be held Monday, October 16, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Miller Gallery.

His work will also be on display in the “Amazing Clay 3” show in the Staunton Augusta Art Center in Staunton, Va. Hours for the Art Center are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and Saturdays by appointment. Biggs is one of 27 artists who will be exhibiting, including Herb Weaver from Bethany, W.Va., and two artists who have exhibited at Concord: Mark Gordon from Wilson, N.C., and Fiona Ross from Richmond, Va. The art will be on display through Friday, November 10.

Biggs pieces, assembled from wheel-thrown components, are fitted together in a simple mechanical manner, which can be disassembled into dozens of parts. Some of the works rely on abstracted images to reference a specific story; others communicate only through the manner in which they hold together.

Biggs said, “I place a great importance on the oral history of my family. Ancestors who have come and gone exist in the stories shared during work, dinner, and other ordinary rituals. Specific objects used in daily life gain a greater importance when these recollections are associated with them. A certain knife, a butter churn, a sewing machine, or a hammer, maintain and transmit cultural identity with the effectiveness of artworks due to the stories ‘gathered’ through use and users. A stoneware jar being used to make pickles “catches” the stories being shared between a grandmother and a three-year-old grandson. These objects and stories create an image of a family tree made up of creative people. Branches of the tree consist of farmers, woodworkers, carpenters, contractors, and teachers. Each occupation has its own instances of unique situations resulting in stories of someone ‘getting by in a pinch.’ I have witnessed tractors and heavy equipment functioning only because a piece of bailing twine or chewing gum was available. Simple, temporary solutions possess beauty because they result only from complete understanding of the mechanism at hand.

“I am grateful to my family because these stories and objects have directly influenced the person I have become.”

He has exhibited his work in Indiana, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, including “Amazing Clay” and “Amazing Clay, Too” invitational exhibitions in Staunton, Va.

Biggs graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in studio art and a B.S. degree in art education from Concord College (now Concord University). He earned an M.F.A. in ceramics, with distinction, from Indiana State University. In addition to his teaching, Biggs is director of the Butcher Gallery at Concord University.


PHOTO: The piece featured in this photograph, which consists of several pieces that are assembled on site, is “Lidded jar with targets; containing legends of Brock’s Bridge” (cone 10 reduction), stoneware, 46” high by 12” deep by 23” wide (2006).