LCCC art exhibit meets at crossroads of beauty, pragmatism

whimsical ceramic teapot by Artist Shana SalaffCHEYENNE, Wyoming – Art that is both beautiful and useful is coming to a unique summer exhibition at Laramie County Community College. 

“Decoration and Use,” with paintings and ceramic work from Front Range artist Shana Salaff, will be on exhibition at LCCC’s Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery June 13-Aug. 1. The gallery is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. An artist reception is set for 3-4 p.m. June 13. 

Integrating beauty into daily rituals, Salaff's ceramic vessels combine aesthetic pleasure and utility. Her work — which begins with admiration of historical forms, often Chinese ceramics — blends traditional and postmodern styles with elegance, quirkiness and playfulness. Each piece evolves through experimentation, decorated with patterns and colors. This process creates cohesive functional pieces reflecting her passion for beauty and pragmatism. 

Salaff’s paintings, inspired by traditional Chinese rugs, Persian tiles and 19th-century wallpaper, blend these styles with contemporary designs.

The exhibition’s title, “Decoration and Use,” is a way to link Salaff’s two- and three-dimensional work, she said. While the paintings are certainly more decorative than practically useful, she uses a similar “visual vocabulary” of pattern, color and movement, and said they serve a use that is quite functional. With her three-dimensional work, Salaff said she seeks to establish a connection between maker and user that is more physical than a painting allows.

Ultimately, she said no matter the practical purpose, the pieces are works of art meant to be visually attractive.

“I believe that we should surround ourselves with as much beauty as possible, and to that end, I try not to make technical decisions based upon efficiency rather than aesthetics,” Salaff said.  

Originally from Toronto, Shalaff lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. A studio potter and contributor to Pottery Making Illustrated and Ceramic Monthly, she holds a diploma from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an MFA from California State University in Fullerton, California. She has operated Wareshana Pottery in Halifax and completed residencies at Art 342 in Fort Collins and PauKune Wanner Art Haus in Severance, Colorado. Currently, she teaches workshops and classes in the Fort Collins area.

For more information about the “Decoration and Use” exhibition or LCCC’s art programs, contact Daniel Maw at dmaw@lccc.wy.edu or 307.432.1692. More information about the artist is available at lccc.wy.edu/artGallery.