No Rules: Contemporary Clay is the second in a series of three exhibitions at Elmhurst Art Museum exploring ceramic tradition and new creative developments. No Rules focuses on clay-based work of a nonfunctional nature and includes an international group of artists. Taking a variety of forms—from large and small-scale sculpture to community-based walks to performance, video, and photography—the work in this exhibition underscores artists’ enduring relationship with clay and its adaptability to contemporary concerns.
No Rules takes its title from a quote by the renowned Bay Area ceramicist and exhibiting artist Richard Shaw, who said that he “switched from painting to ceramics because the ceramics professors stressed originality, personal expression, and no rules.” The selected artists build on this idea to expand and challenge traditional perceptions of what clay can and should do. While exploring and exploiting the material’s inherent properties and associations, the artists work within a broad context, beyond that of just their medium, probing such subjects as the passage of time, beauty and the body, the environment, and the landscape.