Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ackland Exhibition

If you have a chance before March 20th, go to the Ackland Art Museum to see the exhibition entitled "Tradition in Clay: Two Centuries of Classic North Carolina Pots." I went on Thursday to see the exhibition and also had the privilege of seeing Daniel Johnston make a presentation on his work. He showed a sneak preview of the video made during his Large Jar Project.

Daniel Johnston presenting
After the presentation I went through the exhibition and was excited to see such a range of pieces.

The openess of the exhibition space was exsquisite
I liked the layout of the exhibition. It was in two rooms, with one room being a combination of salt-glazed and alkaline-glazed wares from all across the state. I thought this was beneficial because it showed that both of these techniques were in use at the same time in different regions. The pieces in this room were mostly from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As the exhibition progressed in this room there was a transition of glazes and forms which led into the second room showing the movement of art pottery in the twentieth-century and the rise of regions like Seagrove and the establishment of Jugtown Pottery.

All of these pieces are from the Fox family, dated range from 1840-1870. I liked the austerity of the displays with just the pieces with a muted background and open pedestals

Handle of an Enoch Craven bottle, ca. 1850
Of course I was mostly drawn to the nineteenth and early twentieth-century pieces, and spent a great deal of time looking closely at handles and decorative markings. I have an affinity for ovoid bottles, and there was no shortage of these!

Bottle from the Webster pottery, dated 1875

Side of large storage jar attributed to John Craven, ca. 1850

Interior of large storage jar attributed to John Craven. It was nice to be able to get close the pieces and see the inside of them and see the details. I may have looked a little strange kneeling so close to the pieces and hovering above the pedestals!

Bottle by William Henry Hancock, 19th century

Handle detail on Hancock bottle
In closing, if you have a chance, I highly recommend going to see the exhibition and having the chance to take a closer look at North Carolina pottery.
Top of Nicholas Fox bottle, ca. 1840

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