search  current discussion  categories  people 

beyond voulkos? 2

updated mon 31 mar 97


dan wilson on sat 1 mar 97

He'd been over this territory before but couldn't remember when exactly.
It was time for a demonstration. "This is not a Teapot, but it should serve
to demonstrate where I would like to go with this." He placed on the table
an oval shaped covered jar that measured approximately six and a half
inches in diameter and about four inches high. "I bought this little pot
over in Pueblo Colorado where it hardly ever rains. You can come up here
and get a closer look if you want. You'll notice the handle on the lid is
carved in the shape of a three headed serpent. A symbol often used in
various forms in artworks of the very distant past. Someone once told me a
similar symbol originated in Ancient Egypt and it was originally in the
form of a three headed dog meant to represent the three aspects of time;
past, present and future. I didn't know this at the time. Hell I was just a
goof on the loose lookin for somethin cool to embelish my surroundings and
this pot caught my eye. It wasn't till later, after I discovered its
meaning, that I was able to put it to good and proper use. I used to fill
it with the pennys and nickles I'd saved up for Mars bars." With this said,
he removed the lid , placed it to the side and stood back a ways so
everyone who wanted to could see inside. Wanda was the first to respond.
"Wow, its a wrist-watch. An old worn out wrist-watch. One of those
"Timex's. The ones with the hands that go round and round." "It was my
dads." says Thomas "He was a plumber you know. Gave it to me just before he
passed. Still keeps good time too. So.... says Thomas. "here we have an
example of a configuration. One which reveals itself during the initial
process of naming; or that period of time I like to call the perceptual
moment. Now the perceptual moment is shaped by the context in which it
occurs. The psycho/physical context. The psycho part is in a constant state
of flux because of the continuous process of focusing and unfocusing and
forgetting and remembering. The physical part refers to place or location.
Each of these aspects of the perceptual moment influence the process of
naming and help to invest unnamed things with meaning. As far as I know
human animals are the only living things that have this capacity to invest
things with meaning although monkeys, apes, dolphins and whales are
suspect in this regard. Their language is meaningless to us right now so we
just can't tell. Anyway young potters of the sixties and seventies,
realizing that Voulkos had made the difinitive abstract expressionist
statement in clay immediately began exploring other areas. To extend
themselves beyond the unique and honest personal expression into areas we
now consider commonplace. Art as experience became the focus and the notion
led to what were called environmental works by some. Today we call it
installation art. The total emersion of the human in an environment in
which the art object in the conventional or physical sense looses its
primacy and is transformed into the experience. I know. One or two of you
are still wondering what this has to do with pottery. Well I'll tell you in
a minute.......

Dan Wilson