Ceramic artist Daniel Johnston
Ceramic artist Daniel Johnston brings a large-scale pottery installation to Peters Projects where it opens to the public on Friday, June 2, with a 5 p.m. reception. Johnston is at the center of a growing large-pot movement in his home state of North Carolina. His massive pots can each take up to 100 pounds of clay to make and hold 35 to 40 gallons apiece. Johnston picked up techniques from master potters in the Thai village of Phon Bok, where he learned efficient ways of producing large pots and jars using processes that are mostly unknown in the U.S.
The project, called Installation (906-955) White to Black, consists of 50 jars aligned in a custom-built curving corridor that runs through the gallery. The numbers in the work’s title indicate production numbers. Each pot is numbered in the order produced. Beginning with a white jar, the vessels grow progressively darker as one moves through the installation finally ending with a pot of solid black. The corridor, which shifts directions at the center of the gallery, transforms the space. Raised three feet off the ground, the jars are in intimate proximity to the viewer.
Johnston is a former employee of a high-volume North Carolina ceramic-production studio where he worked as a teenager and then later apprenticed under Mark Hewitt. He digs most of the materials used for his glazes and pots and fires them in an 850 cubic-foot wood kiln. “From digging the clay to firing the kiln I put all my effort into creating pots that have a powerful presence,” he writes on his website. “It is important to me to create pots that are timeless but reflect the culture and times in which I live.” Peters Projects is located at 1011 Paseo de Peralta. Call 505-954-5800 for information.
Daniel Johnston with pots on racks; courtesy the artist and Peters Projects