The cup is the most utilitarian of vessels, especially necessary in the morning to ferry that caffeinated brew that will put the day in motion.

But ask a bunch of artists to interpret the cup, and their creations run the gamut from modern and sleek to whimsical and, well, a little weird.

Kristin Malia Krolak, director of LSU's Alfred Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery, is delighted with the results now on display in the exhibition "8 Fluid Ounces."

"It's almost like you're communicating with the artists through their cups," she says. "The artists made them, and no two are exactly alike. And I love when I sometimes find a fingerprint or impression of a ring left in the cup because you're able to see their individual process in making it. … It gives the cup life. It's a part of life that you and the artist share."

This year's exhibit runs through March 4 and features work by 17 artists from throughout the United States. It was curated by Helena, Montana, artist Joanna Powell, whose work also is featured.

Each artist created a set of cups and vessel with no limits imposed on their imaginations.

"Each work has a different personality," Krolak says. "They tell about the artist as a person. Some are precise in their work, others have a sense of humor. Some cups show the simplicity in an artist's work."

Some are delicate porcelain pieces, while others are sturdy stoneware. There are cups that look like trippy poodles and cups with spots. Cups with folklife influences and cups touched with gold. 

Brian Giniewski, a Phildelphia artist, calls his works "drippy pots" because the pastel glazes are frozen in a permanent drip around the circumference.

"I don't know how he does it, but it's a masterful engineering feat," Krolak says. "It's just frozen there, and it looks like melting ice cream — just looking at it makes you hungry."

"They're so much fun," Krolak says. "All of the cups in here are fun. Some of the artists have shown in this show before, and seeing their work in this gallery is like seeing old friends. But we also make new friends through the work of the new artists in this show."

Most items in "8 Fluid Ounces" are for sale, a chance to find a cup that's so much more than a cup.  


8 Fluid Ounces

An international ceramic cup exhibition

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. weekends. Through March 4.

WHERE: Alfred C. Glassell Exhibition Gallery, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.

ADMISSION/INFO: Free. (225) 389-7180 or glassellgallery.org

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.