Josh DeWeese: Beauty in the Unpredictable
Intermediate Ceramics Art 160
Professor Una Mjurka
March 12, 2013
Josh DeWeese is an esteemed, modern ceramic artist and an educator. He resides in Bozeman, Montana with his wife Rosalie Wynkoop where they have a home and a ceramics studio. Josh DeWeese is currently an Assistant ceramic Professor at Montana State University. He was the Resident Director for the Archie Bray Foundation from 1992-2006 where he was able to focus most of his time experimenting and refining his wood and salt/soda firing processes. His work reveals his individual artistic fingerprint and resembles an Asian flair that was one of his central sources of inspiration. DeWeese’s work can be seen all over the world in both private and public viewings. Josh DeWeese has spent his life fulfilling his passion for ceramics by compiling his experimental gains and methods into his unique collections. Josh DeWeese has a BFA in Ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute. He also earned an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. After completing he’s undergraduate degree DeWeese struggled the most with the lack of studio space and other resources. DeWeese involved himself in an art program at the Mendocino Art Center. It was a state funded program that allowed him to have a part time job at a local restaurant and still be able to afford an inexpensive studio place at the Center. DeWeese worked 14 years as a director and 3 more as a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana once completing his graduate studies. It was there that he had his opportunity to build up a substantial career and reputation as a ceramic artist. As an undergraduate ceramics student studying at the Kansas City Art Institute, his professor, Ken Ferguson, was the person who initially introduced DeWeese to the Asian ceramic traditions and its ample range of possibilities. At the Institute there was a direct access to the Nelson Atkins Museum. All of the pieces in that remarkable collection have served as references to his work. Painting also had an important role to play in the development of DeWeese’s approach to ceramic art. Both his parents Robert and Gennie DeWeese were painters who focused on 1950’s style art. These abstract expressionistic thoughts intrigued DeWeese to lean more towards the use of slip on wet clay as design; resembling wet paint on a canvas. This technique is widely implemented in Peter Voulkous’ works which have always captivated Josh DeWeese since his earlier year as a budding artist. Josh DeWeese does not always have a clearly identifiable source of inspiration since all his ideas morph together in his imagination. DeWeese does however state that Asian ceramics such as Korean Puncheong Ware, Japanese Oribe, and Shino Ware are his favorite sources of inspiration. He has traveled to China and Korea many times even though he has not study their officially. Due to all the time he spent at the Archie Bray Foundation as director, Josh DeWeese has developed various relationships and connections to approximately 12 Korean artists. One professional ceramic artist that moved DeWeese greatly was Peter Voulkous, an American artist of Greek decent, and his abstract expressionistic style. Voulkous’ sculptures consist of wheel thrown, paddled, sliced, and other types of manipulated forms to create a distinctive design. What really drew DeWeese’s attention to Voulkous as an artist was that Voulkous approached his ceramic pieces more as a sculptural work due to his experimental nature and variance of the traditional and more conservable methods. Even though DeWeese has been driven by the Asian ceramic movement, he says he doesn’t align his work with any movement happening currently. DeWeese sees his work diving into the exploration of ceramic surface and how it’s a phenomenon that is rooted by drawing and the deeper ideas of...
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