Meyer Najem Showcase: Dan Howell’s “Chaos Control Failure”

Meyer Najem Showcase: Dan Howell’s “Chaos Control Failure”

Dan Howell’s clay work began when he was a boy, making sculptures on the creek banks near the source of the White River on his father’s farm in central Indiana. With encouragement for his high school art teacher, he continued his foray into clay. He first earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ball state University, did some study and work in France for a year, and then continued to receive a master’s degree in sculpture and ceramics from Ball State.

Dan proceeded to teach art in a wide variety of forms for 45 years in three different Indiana high schools. His work has now come full circle with a ceramic studio at his home on the banks of the White River in Noblesville.

Not content with one form, Dan has explored a range of media, including fiber, carved wood and stone, cast and welded materials. He has practical furniture, and fanciful lawn sculpture in his body of work. His clay pieces range from functional wheel thrown porcelain, to hand-built stoneware abstract sculpture. Dan’s work spans 50 years and has been shown in collections both locally and internationally.

Currently, his work is in a collection of platters made of glazed stoneware on display at Meyer Najem in the 2nd Floor Gallery space. The series started as a reaction to political and social unrest. His pieces that contain “Chaos Control Failure” in their title are a reflection of that unrest. Many of the platters are an image of some concrete structure that has been overrun by a more organic non-structured element.

“As I was working on these Chaos Control Failure platters, I got intrigued more and more by the textures and the patterns – so it’s kind of a release to be able to express it and be done with it – and then move on to another experience or expression of some sort.”

The series evolved into other images dealing with contrast of patterns and textures. “I feel very good about the finished collection, and I’m glad that I was able to move on in another direction – as I moved onto colors, textures, patterns and movement – the movement of the chaos and not being able to control it…I worked it out of my system. I am very pleased with how these turned out.”  

See the full exhibit “Chaos Control Failure“, partnered beautifully with Dan’s hand-carved limestone sculptures, at Meyer Najem located at 11787 Lantern Road in Fishers, on the 2nd floor, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Meet Dan at his free public reception on Friday, October 14 from 5-8 p.m. in the gallery.   

Ailithir McGill

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