About the Artworks
"Double Arch" private collection
I have been working in ceramics since 1969. My work has evolved from geometric forms in clay and copper concerned with placement in space to more figurative works, returning to an interest in vessels. All of them are based on approaches to objects I have learned through linguistic philosophy and observations from artists internationally.
I re-opened Arbitrary Forms Studio when Karen and I moved to Asheville in 2015. I create unique functional objects and sculptures that explore shapes that I have made and the ideas that formed them over the past 40 years. At this point, my practice focuses on vessels that are based on combinations of positive and negative, volumetric shapes with surfaces that include binary symbols based on Morse code. The codes are now most frequently palindromes that read the same forward and backward. Dot dash dot, or dash dot dash, etc. They question symmetry, order, and meaning.
Prominent sources for many of the pieces are the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, the 20th century Austrian philosopher. The sculptures are not derived from quotations, but they grow around them. Imagistic vessels from the last decade involved questions that start with “W,” inquiries like “What,” “Where,” “When, “ Why,” or “Who.” In all of the works, significant influences also include linguistic and pragmatic philosophy; Neolithic and early classical Chinese and Japanese pottery, sculpture, and calligraphy; the pottery of the southwest American Indians; the wood carving of the Northwest Indians; and the stone carving of the Mayans. They reflect my appreciation of many contemporary artists working in clay and other materials as well. In college, I studied with abstract expressionists and minimalists, political and linguistic philosophers. In graduate school, I studied with imagistic artists and artists who referred to vessels. I believe I learned from all of them as well as the artists I have known since.
My sculptures are highly autobiographical. This doesn’t mean they are about events in my life, but they reflect thoughts I have had and influences I have experienced. I have had the good fortune to grow up and study on the West Coast of the United States and to live and work throughout the country. I have been able to visit sites in China and Mexico and other continents where some of the ancient pottery and carved forms were made which have influenced my work and thought. Artists’ concepts and palettes are tremendously influenced by their visual environment and that is certainly true for me in the past and now in Asheville.