Throughout March Seattle will be a hot bed (hot kiln?) of ceramic art as it hosts the annual national ceramics conference, NCECA (blissfully short for National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts), March 28–31. Local museums and galleries are taking part with new sculpture and clay works—we highly recommend Li Chen’s Eternity and Commoner at the Frye—but here are a few more exhibits worth noting.

Alden Mason and Archie Bray Foundation
Mar 1–31, Foster/White Gallery
Now 92 years old, the Everett-born painter exhibits a selection of his large, colorful, abstract works from the last half-century—created in a style he partly credits to a mail-order cartoon course—next to contemporary ceramics from the Archie Bray collection. It’s a smart pairing, given the Through the Looking Glass feel to several of the sculptures: notably Alessandro Gallo’s anthropomorphized seagulls and lizards clad in puffy jackets, hooded sweatshirts, and camo pants. View the slideshow for a preview.

Around the Bend and Over the Edge: Seattle Ceramics 1964–1977
Thru May 6, Henry Art Gallery
On display since mid-February, this collection of controversial clay art (think skulls in aviator caps) defies the traditional notion of a ceramic vessel. UW art history professor emeritus Martha Kingsbury guest curates, adding perspective to the role Seattle played with its boundary-breaking ceramics in the ’60s and ’70s.

Dirk Staschke: Falling Feels a Lot Like Flying
Mar 1–May 27, Bellevue Arts Museum
After winning the Price Award of Excellence at the BAM Biennial 2010: Clay Throwdown!, ceramic artist Staschke makes his solo museum debut with a banquet of Baroque excesses—decadent clay cakes and tiers of cherry-topped confections fit for Marie Antoinette. Bonus: BAM will throw a late-night art party, BAMignite: Meditation Rave on March 9, to celebrate the opening of its latest exhibits; Seattle indie songbird Kaylee Cole will perform.

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