At Red Rock Center: Exhibit offers ceramics, pottery

Lisa Truax arranges some of her original artwork at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont. Truax is the featured artist of the month.

The artist of the month at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont comes from Winona. Lisa Truax will have original works of ceramics and pottery on display now through the end of September.

Truax is originally from Lake Geneva, Wis. She attended Carthage College, where she received a degree in studio arts and graphic design, with a business minor. She worked in design for five years before going to Michigan State University, where she earned her master of fine arts degree in ceramics.

After college, she began attending art fairs with her pottery. She now tries to do one or two solo shows per year.

Truax is an associate professor of art and design at St. Mary’s University of Winona. She has a studio in Pickwick. She has had her work on exhibit both regionally and nationally. She has received many awards, including the Minnesota State Arts Board Visual Initiative Grant in 2015 and 2019 and a Jerome Foundation Ceramic Artist Project Grant in 2017.

When asked how she found the Red Rock Center, she said, “I was doing some research online for Minnesota-based galleries. As part of Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, you need to exhibit or do public activities in the state of Minnesota. I was looking for ones that were a reasonable driving distance for me and I found the Red Rock Center.”

She has about 20 pieces on display. Truax’s work is unique because she combines traditional ceramic materials with natural materials.

“My work is about our relationship to and use of the natural environment. The pieces all incorporate materials from different places I’ve traveled or gone to,” she explained.

She said her work carries a sense of memory of a place with the colors and textures. She typically chooses places that are threatened or personally important to her.

As for what materials she uses, Truax does some foraging to find natural materials.

“In places where it’s OK to do so, I’ll pick up rocks or dirt or meltable trash like metal or glass and either use them whole or I have a special machine that can grind them up and then I turn them into glazes,” she explained.

Her bigger sculptures take a few weeks but smaller pieces take a few days.

Truax is in her 11th year of teaching full time. She noted it does take up a lot of her time.

“During the school year, it’s probably at least 75 percent teaching. In the summer, I try to spend most of my time on artwork. It is hard for me to get in as much time as I’d like. I’d like to be more like 50/50 but I haven’t achieve that yet,” said Truax, adding that she spends several nights per week and several weekends in her studio.

Red Rock Center gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Weekends and evenings by appointment.