Mark Pharis . Artist Statement

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I have been making functional pottery for over thirty years. During this time I have been engaged in the history of clay, craft, aesthetics, studio process, and the semiotics of vessels. I am particularly interested in the wide range and vigor of objects used in domestic environments. The themes provided by function are familiar: vases, cups, teapots, etc. These functions are shorthand for a longer and, perhaps, less obvious list of concerns which include, in no particular order: interactivity, material, metaphor, formal constitution, social and cultural context, and the object’s relationship to “fine art” and utility as “idea”.

The endless variation on functional forms is fascinating. These objects service our everyday existence; their form celebrates, gives meaning and contributes to our cultural identity. Regardless how familiar, these themes have the potential to enrich our everyday lives, with endless variation. Archeology and history suggest that humanity’s need for functional clay vessels is nothing short of eternal. Our own culture is no exception. However, industry’s’ assumption of manual tasks, and our basic utilitarian needs have refocused the efforts of contemporary artists working in clay.