Malcolm Wright Ceramic Exhibition ~ A Potter's Lifetime ~ is still going on at SANNGA@ DAIICHI ARTS 18 E 64th Street until June 30th.
For more information sannga.com
Here is a short form history.
My aunt Ann Wright Meerkerk was a potter in the 40’s at the Jane St. Pottery in NYC, so I grew up knowing about pottery.
My very first teacher was Betty Gilson in Wethersfield VT from 1960-62 one afternoon each week while in College.
In the fall of 1962 I apprenticed to Jack O’Leary, Meriden NH.
Married Marj in Dec 1962, and started Art School at the Corcoran School of Art in January 1963.
Teruo Hara from Kyoto came to teach at the Corcoran that summer and he became an important teacher for me.
My MFA was from George Washington University, Washington DC in 1967.
Takashi Nakazato came to Washington DC in the spring of 1967, and friends at the Freer Gallery brought him to my studio to see him work. I introduced him to Hara-san and others, but we were getting ready to leave for VT and Japan. I had a degree in history of Japanese Pottery and making including Japanese Glazes. There were so few books available then, we moved to Karatsu in October of ’67, to learn more. In Kyoto we studied language 3 days each week and I worked in a studio at Gojo Zaka to learn pottery and men's language. We moved to Karatsu in late fall ’68 to study with the Nakazato family and stayed until June 1970. Hanako Nakazato was a high school and college student in the 1990’s and she became an extra child in our family. She worked in my studio from late 1999 to 2005, 5 years in all, finding her own way.
Why did I want to study pottery? That is very hard to explain in today’s thinking 55 years later. There were many areas that I was not interested in, but Art was a principal interest. I was interested in Abstract Expressionist Painting. I knew several Conscientious Objectors from WW2 who were potters and had a life style that I honored, of life and work being closely connected. I liked the plasticity of glass, but I wanted to touch it, so I tried clay. The plasticity of clay is very wonderful to explore.
The pre-Japan pots show my interest in plasticity, drawing, and color. I was also interested in food, so the possibility of combining pottery with food presentation, Karatsu Pottery was pretty natural for me. I was interested in reshaping thrown forms, and in efficient hand throwing of pottery forms. I was interested in wood, straw, and coal ash glazes before going to Japan. For example, coal ash and fern ash glazes are closely related, as is straw ash and flax ash. I like Japanese traditions, and think of looking for freedom within tradition. There are so many elements to pottery, a little bit of chemistry in clay and glaze, physics in combustion, craft in throwing, art in form and color, clay is the canvas for presenting food, even the sociology in people from how they fire pots to the food they eat.
Thanks for all your interest.
~ Malcolm Wright