Troy professor’s art selected for regional show

Published 11:33 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Larry Percy, Troy University art professor, is one of 31 artists from six Southeastern states whose works have been selected for the 10th Annual Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit at the Renaissance Center in Dickson, Tennessee.

The show will open on Oct. 2 and run through Nov. 15.

Sixty-seven pieces were selected by professional juror, Christopher Tarpley, a renowned glass artist. Tarpley’s selections make the 2008 exhibition the largest in the annual exhibition’s history.

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Percy is the only Alabama artist whose work will be on exhibit at the prestigious Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit.

“It is an honor for my work to be selected for this juried exhibition,” Percy said. “Recently, I have pulled back from shows of this type but I had a couple of pieces that wanted to enter. I’m honored that they were deemed worthy of this prestigious show.”

Percy has been at Troy University for eight years and has 16 years of experience as a potter.

“When I was working on my master of fine arts degree, I realized I was bored with and tired of the wheel,” he said. “So, I moved in a different direction.”

That direction led him to sculptural vessels, which are symbolic of the journeys and passions of his life.

Percy grew up in New Mexico where his dad owned an ice plant.

“We lived two blocks from the fabled Route 66,” he said. “My grandparents often took me on trips along Route 66 and I fell in love with the mountains of the desert Southwest.”

“I visited museums in New Mexico and was fascinated by the pottery,” Percy said.

His granddad bought a log cabin in the Santa Fe Mountains and Percy spent a lot of time there.

“I loved the red rocks and the clay,” Percy said. “Living in a log cabin in the mountains, I had many opportunities to play with fire. Fire has such energy. When I realized that, by making pottery, I could play with mud and with fire, legally, I decided, ‘that’s for me.’”

Percy now used clay “and fire” to make the sculptural vessels that are an extension of the land he loves. He molds vessels out of clay and then used the fire to color them. When he completes a vessel, it is part of who he is. It is part of his soul.

And, for the juror of a prestigious art show like the Renaissance Regional Art Exhibition, to be able to search his “soul” and find it worthy, is a great tribute to Percy and to his passion for mud and fire.

Amanda Dillingham, curator for the center, said she is extremely excited with the selections Tarpley made.

“Because each show is selected by a different juror, his or her preferences and opinions bring a unique style to that show,” Dillingham said. “Some of the artists have been selected before but, for many, this will be the first time their work will be exhibited at The Renaissance Center. An additional bonus for being selected for our regional show is that we often invite some of those artists back for individual exhibits.”