Jane Aebersold on mon 31 jan 00
For those of you who are able to get to Winterthur in Delaware--this is
likely to be a very good show. It's reviewed in NY Times Sunday 30.
Jill Koverman made Dave the Potter the subject of both her master's thesis
and a traveling exhibition of his work organized by her in 1998 at the
McKissick Museum. The show's title quotes a line from a poem on a pot by
Dave in the Smithsonian: " 'I made this jar. . .' The Life and Works of the
Enslaved African-American Potter, Dave." It will open next weekend at the
Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum and remain through June 25.
"Everything about Dave and his pots seems remarkable. His jars, jugs, churns
and pitchers are handsomely proportioned and are often huge: two on view are
nearly two feet tall. All are gloriously glazed in greens, grays or browns,
colors that merge in varying intensity on the surfaces of some pots and come
alive in runny patterns that shimmer with a seeming wetness. The subtle
differences in the textures and colors on these pieces recall the medieval
ash-glazed pots produced at Shigaraki, Japan. The way in which they are
displayed in the showcases enhances the power of the abstract colorations:
three or more vessels are placed close together, much as they might have
been when they emerged from the kilns in the potteries where Dave worked.
Dave was a prolific potter. Mrs. Koverman estimates that he made more than
40,000 pieces over his lifetime, 24 of which are in the exhibition (along
with seven pieces made by others in the same period). "