Blanden Memorial Art Museum

Fort Dodge, IA



Malcolm Wright: Functional Ceramics and Sculpture


On Saturday, April 29 from 7-9 p.m., the Blanden Memorial Art Museum will host the opening reception for the "Malcolm Wright: Functional Ceramics and Sculpture" exhibit. Mr. Wright will be at the museum giving public demonstrations from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. on April 29. In addition, Mr. Wright will give a gallery talk at the opening reception at 7 p.m., followed at 8 p.m., by a classical music performance on piano by Marc Ryser, Professor of Piano from Drake University. (left: Medium Vase, 1997, Shino glazed stoneware, 8 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches)

Malcolm Wright was born in the Midwest and received his formal education in Vermont, where he has lived and worked for nearly 30 years. When he was introduced to Japanese pottery making, while teaching at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., his lifelong vocation as a potter began. Wright apprenticed with the family of Tarouemon Nakazato, a 12th generation potter who was named a Living National Treasure in Japan, where a keen awareness of focus and technique, combined with his own experimental curiosity and various artistic influences led Wright to develop a unique style. (right: Cube Vase, 1996, porcelain, 6 x 6 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches)

While Wright concentrates on being a craftsman, making and selling dishes, vases and pots for everyday use, his pottery and ceramic sculpture can be found in fine arts galleries in this country and in Japan.

The Blanden exhibition will include wheel-thrown and extruded ceramic sculpture, all wood-fired in a massive 30,000-pound kiln he built himself. The three-chambered kiln is patterned after the Nakazato family kiln, and requires a huge effort and a huge amount of wood to complete a firing. Mr. Wright fires his work on the average of 4 times a year, loading up to 350 pieces each time. He takes great care in the process, and then enjoys giving up control and letting the fire and wood ash mark the individual pieces in unpredictable ways that define their character. (left: Scoop, 1996, brick clay unglazed, 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 inches)

Wright sees both creating and appreciating art as an intellectual challenge. He speaks of the dialog between the potter and the clay, and between the individual piece and the kiln.

The exhibition organized by the Blanden Memorial Art Museum and sponsored by generous friends and supporters of the Blanden Charitable Foundation. The exhibit will remain on view through June 25, 2000.

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