Evansville native David Rodenberg was well versed in the art of modeling clay before he started elementary school. Now, the retired high school art teacher will have his first solo exhibit in the Sculpture Alcove Art Gallery at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science from April 28 through Aug. 25.
Rodenberg focuses on porcelain and porcelain clay vases, pitchers, and coffee cups, often incorporating Asian pottery techniques. One technique he uses involves pushing a needle tool under the clay while it’s turning to create texture on the surface.
Rodenberg first got his start with clay when he was a child, using plasticine clay, a type of modeling clay, to create armies, horses, ladders, and cars with his brothers. Still, he didn’t intend to become a ceramic artist.
“My initial plan was to become a painter,” he recalls, until he took a ceramics course by Les Miley. The professor emeritus at the University of Evansville is a nationally known potter who influenced Rodenberg to make clay his main medium. Rodenberg later earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees from that same university. The training has served him well. His work has been featured eight times in Mid-States Craft, the Evansville Museum’s regional competition where he twice won purchase awards (in 1991 and again in 2003). He also has competed in an international ceramic exhibition in New Zealand, and he has been invited to show in Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as locally at the Ohio Valley Arts Link (OVAL) in Henderson, Ky.
In 2011, Rodenberg retired after 34 years of teaching art at North Posey High School. In addition to his upcoming museum exhibit, Rodenberg also has work for sale at the Bower-Suhrheinrich Foundation Gallery at The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana on Downtown’s Main Street.
For more information on Rodenberg’s ceramic art, visit emuseum.org/featured-exhibitions.