American, b. 1929
Skirted vessel, 1992
82 x 40.4 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift from the collection of Robert and Meridel Archambeau
The monumentality and gestural nature of this skirted vessel is typical of Don Reitz’s practice. Recognized as one of the most influential ceramists in the United States, Reitz is credited with reviving the art of salt-firing in the 1960s and achieving colours and effects not previously thought possible. Later work, such as this example, is indicative of his interest in and use of wood-firing techniques, and his exploitation of the unpredictable and complex surface effects these can create. Standing almost a metre tall, the sheer physicality of this piece is impressive and arresting. Reitz’s forms are achieved though much physical interaction: pushing, pulling, forcing, and stretching. Clay is massaged into towering vessels of visceral expression, which remain balanced and serene.