“The Fein Art Of Clay,” a three-decade retrospective exhibition featuring selected  ceramic sculpture by Randy Fein of Lincolnville, will open Thursday, March 24 with a 4 to 5:30 p.m. public reception at Unity College’s Leonard R. Craig Gallery, 90 Quaker Hill Road.

“The Fein Art Of Clay” focuses on three reoccurring themes that span the artist’s career. It begins with works from 1981 from  the architectural series and runs up to the present-day series of figurative sculpture and  public art installations. The works show great variety of technique and subject, but all reveal the fluid stylistic approach that has become the signature of the artist’s work.

On view will be clay sculptures collected from several private collections and a selection of  digital reproductions of Fein’s large-scale public art works. These relief tile installations are permanently placed in corporate, private and public collections throughout the United States. Life-size reproductions of the installations will allow all who attend this show an opportunity to view several public art works simultaneously.

Fein has a long history as workshop leader in the ceramic arts and currently teaches ceramics at Unity College. Clay is her material of expression and she said she loves the unpredictability it has to offer. As a ceramic sculptor, she works in the moment, seeking to discover the life within a shapeless lump of mud.

“My hands are my tools. I scratch pinch, push and press. The medium inspires touch, while offering infinite possibilities It’s the Earth’s most primal element, Mother Earth, the common mud under my boots,” she said.

Since the dawn of civilization, most cultures have modeled objects from clay. Fein follows a tradition of all who worked in clay before her and celebrates this connection to the ancients. She uses symbolism and metaphor to convey ideas of duality and/or struggle expressed formally through the relationships between inside and out, surface and form, organic and geometric.

“The result can be seen as decorative or disfiguring, beautiful or grotesque. I derive much of my imagery from my immediate environment situating the work in my current place and time,” she said.

“The Fein Art Of Clay” will run through April 16. Gallery hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Fein will be available by appointment for gallery talks Mondays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Ben Potter at 948-3131, ext. 239; or Fein at 763-3433 or feinarts@yahoo.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.