Gundega Penikis

From the Potter’s Wheel

An image of an untitled, multicolored platter by Gundega Penikis
Gundega Penikis, Untitled, glazed platter, not dated

January 16 – April 4, 2021
Art League Gallery

Reception: April 2 | 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.


To highlight all of the artists Gundega has influenced during her extraordinary teaching tenure, we want to include a slideshow of artwork created by YOU, her past students. So if you ever took a class with Gundega — at SBMA, St. Mary’s, or IUSB — we would LOVE to include an image of your work in the slideshow! Here are the details:

  • We will need all images no later than Monday, January 11, 2021.
  • Please email your image to Mark Rospenda, Curator, at
  • Please include “Gundega” in the subject line.
  • Artwork should be ceramics or primarily ceramics. It can be a recent piece, something you made in the past, or in one of her classes. 
  • Please include in the body of the email: your name, title of your artwork, any artwork info (year made, media, scale), and when you took a class with Gundega.
  • Images taken with your cell phone are absolutely fine, but SBMA reserves the right to not include any images that are out of focus, too low resolution, etc. 

Gundega Penikis’s elegant ceramic pots and vessels have a lightness to them. In contrast to their material, they seem almost to float upward. Perhaps this is from how technically well crafted they are. Or perhaps from drips of glaze that are frozen forever in time. But whatever the reason, her ceramics transcend their earthy materiality and become things of exceptional beauty.

Gundega arrived in South Bend in 1970, and within the year enrolled in a ceramics class at the then Art Center. “I discovered that working with clay was interesting, challenging and discouraging, but never boring.”

Before her recent retirement, Gundega nurtured area clay students for 40 years, teaching in the SBMA studios, Saint Mary’s College and Indiana University South Bend. This exhibition features a loose survey of her work, and will also feature images of work provided by past students, highlighting how both in her personal work and her teaching, Gundega has vastly improved the quality of our cultural life.

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