JOIN Header text demi WHITE SPACE     

Slide background
Slide background
Slide background


Ceramic and sculptural work by Keith Ekstam, Kevin W. Hughes and Howard Koerth

October 3 – November 23, 2014 AHHA Main Gallery


Relationships: Societal / Environmental features ceramic and mixed media sculpture that references imagery relevant to humankind, including geological features, architecture, and mechanical, organic and human forms. Artists Keith Ekstam, Kevin W. Hughes and Howard Koerth work in a variety of three-dimensional media, and have exhibited together nationally and internationally in the past. This body of work also includes stylistic representations inspired by Chinese Scholar Rocks, geological investigations of humankind’s relationships with each other and with the environment.



Keith Ekstam is a Professor of Art and Design at Missouri State University in Springfield. He received his MFA degree in ceramics and drawing from The University of Michigan School of Art in 1987. He has exhibited his artwork in more than two hundred international, national and regional juried and invitational exhibitions. His artwork can be found in numerous public and private collections including the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, The Great China Ceramic Art Museum in Jingdezhen, China, and the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan.


For the past several years my sculpture has incorporated imagery that points to a diverse range of items. These are as far reaching as children’s toys to weapons, architectural elements to landscapes, and geologic references to everyday mundane objects. The resulting pieces are assemblages of associative and metaphoric elements, a building of formal relationships between seemingly unrelated parts and the meaning that I have imposed upon them. Although made primarily from hand-built clay, wheel thrown and simple press molded parts are used at times, all in an attempt to clarify the ideas in the work.

– Keith Ekstam


Kevin W. Hughes was born and raised in the “Bootheel” area of Southeast Missouri. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri and a Mater of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Mr. Hughes taught for twelve years at Vincennes University, a junior college in Vincennes, Indiana. Currently, he is in his twelfth year as a tenured Associate Professor of Art and Design at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. Mr. Hughes has exhibited his creative work in over one hundred and fifty international, national, and regional exhibitions. In 2010 he served as an Artist in Residence at the Potter Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. During the summer of 2009 Mr. Hughes was an artist at the International Woodfiring Symposium, Carlow University and The Union Project, Pittsburgh, PA. His work is held in international and national collections including the Standard Ceramic Supply Company, Pittsburgh, PA, Taipei County Yingko Ceramics Museum, Taipei County, Taiwan, R.O.C. and the Arkansas Art Center Foundation Collection, Little Rock, Arkansas.


The dual concepts of relationships and toys are the basic impetus for the sculptures that I make. By combining bought, found, and press-molded ceramic geometric and organic objects into pull-toy compositions, I explore various facets of relationships.

I began exploring the concepts of relationships by looking at how humankind related to society. The body of work that is emerging concerns sexuality and my view of how American society, through its Anglo-Protestant heritage, regards sex as a “Taboo,” to be enjoyed on a plethora of different levels, through a variety of acts, but not to be openly embraced, enjoyed, or regarded as being a part of a healthy relationship. 

The use of found-objects, press-molding, and a range of firing temperatures and atmospheres in my work stems from a strong work ethic and a directness of working with clay and fire. There is a relationship between press-molding and throwing on the potter’s wheel through the rhythm and repetition of movements, in the repetition and slight variations of forms produced, and in the ability of the artist to control the surfaced quality by manipulating the material.

-Kevin W. Hughes


Howard Koerth is a nationally recognized ceramic artist currently residing in Oklahoma City, OK. He received his BFA from the University of Kansas (1983) and MFA from Indiana University/Bloomington (1988). For the past 25 years his work has been included in invitational and juried exhibitions throughout the United States. In 1993 Mr. Koerth received a Regional Fellowship Award in Crafts through the Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Koerth’s work has been included in a number of publications including Ceramics Monthly (“A Personal Aesthetic”, Dec. 1996), “The Ceramic Design Book: A Gallery of Contemporary Work”, (Lark Books, 1998) and The Studio Potter (“Oklahoma Potters”, June 2002).

In 2003 Mr. Koerth served as Artist in Residence at the Tainan National College of the Arts in Taiwan, an experience that influenced his current visual exploration. 

Howard Koerth is a faculty member at Rose State College in Midwest City, OK.



 I am an object maker. An “object” has an origin, a source, a beginning. By choice, alteration and/or re-presentation the object exists beyond its literal definition, becoming something else. It serves as a visual connection, individually interpreted while simultaneously referencing, and transcending beyond, its origins. In its re-invention it becomes unique, an individual expression.

-Howard Koerth