Sunday, March 1, 2009

Half full, half empty





After a couple of decades in studio pottery I came to USU with the idea that my cup was only half full. I have found the crits with my fellow grad students to be really great. Sometimes it knocks you for a loop but if you go home and lay awake for a few hours and think of their advice it all makes for better work.
Joe Davis told me the foot on one of my 4' pieces was too wimpy. It didn't look wimpy when it was 18" high! In fact, it looked HUGE. So I made a pedestal type foot for it after the crit. I traced the foot on tar paper and tacked it into a thick slab of clay and then took it outside and power washed around the tar paper. The piece will then sit on it's new foot that has had water erosion.
I was also advised to make solid sections so I did. I made the middle section solid and carved out the insides. Trev says it looks very Voulkoess. Here are the two I just completed today and a line up pieces that go in the double wide kiln this weekend. Each piece seems to interest me more which I guess is the way it ought to be.
P.S Notice I am building the pieces right on the kiln shelves to make it easier for Superman and company to lift them into the kiln without breaking off pieces of the surface.

6 comments:

Craig Edwards said...

Great forms.... deserve great firing, may you have great firings.
~Craig

Alex Solla said...

morning Tony- you didnt specifically ask for yet another comment or critique... but blogs in my opinion, are just another venue for a crit anyway.

so...

I think the forms are strong but missing something. So I went back to your comment about referencing stone and landscape etc. And they do just that. But they also reference pots.

They need handles. They almost seem to beg for some greater formal reference to pots to make them seem even larger than they are. A handle to speak volumes about the gargantuan creatures that made them.

Otherwise, I see them as more quasi-architectural forms, at which point, they loose some of their power because they dont really contain all the vital elements of strong directional uplift and power that architectural design incorporates.

Just my morning two cents worth.
Looking forward to your show. How did the first batch survive bisque?

Anonymous said...

...........but I know what I like and I don't like these; they're UGLY! They look like a bunch of drunks who need to sleep it off.

I don't like Voulkos' "stacks" either but his early work is fantastic.

Same for you.

tsbroome said...

I disagree with the ugly comment. I think they are quite wonderful, I would love to see them in my garden, if I had a garden. I think they could be wonderful landscape pieces, or just great in a huge house, but not my little place, no room! They scream wood fire me!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know how much i enjoy your blog about your grad days. I also went back to school a few years ago and wished i would have kept a blog. Plenty of talented people at UNT where i went. Have fun experimenting, glad your wife is a good sport about this scholastic trek.

Anonymous said...

Tony, the work is powerful. There is nothing wimpy about what is going on with the forms, and while there is more than a touch of Volkous and perhaps Mr. Reitz present....who cares......the former was a brilliant abstract expressionist who transcended contemporary ceramics in the twentieth century, and the later sure as hell ain't no piker.

The ledges work exceptionally well. Keep em coming. You done did cyphered the problem with a little help. The topless natural forms that inspired these pieces are smiling. There is a raw natural look to them which I know is extremely difficult to come by. It shows the mark of a skilled, mature artist.

I don't think the handle suggestion is a particularly good idea. These are powerful, sculptural forms. They are ART, not pots.......it looks like you are successfully filling the other half of that glass you talk about.

There is, in my mind, a distinction between pottery and art. Pottery, in my book, is craft. Not better, of worse, than ART....just different....Art, on the other hand, is primarily about ideas and communication. These sculptural forms are achieving that end in an extraordinary way.

I look forward to seeing what happens if you close some of the tops in and what they look like fired. I often have a tendancy to love the look of raw clay and then end up not always likeing the fired forms as much. Will you be wood firing or maybe salting them?



Craig Dunn Clark,
Houston, Texas