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"20th Century Limited:
Sheeler's Station"


Tennessee Technological University - Appalachian Center for Crafts
1560 Crafts Center Drive, Smithville, TN 37166
615/597-6801, FAX - 615/597-6803, Home - 615/597-5376.
E-mail - vpitelka@DeKalb.net

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Artist's Statement


My work addresses the visual and narrative power of pattern and surface. I am interested in pattern in all forms, and I explore variations upon this theme in my work. Of particular interest in recent work is pattern and surface in architectural and industrial form in decline, disused or abandoned. Nature works slowly but relentlessly to raze the things we build, and I find that the process and results are often far more interesting and evocative than the original object or structure. In my work I consider the dichotomies of surface vs. interior, civilization vs. chaos, progress vs. nature, development vs. decay. I appreciate the conflict between the abstract visual dynamism of architectural/industrial structures in decline and the narrative implications of that decline. I do not intend any moral message. Viewers first notice the juxtaposition of intense pattern and abstract constructivist form, and then hopefully discover the way the work questions our expectations of architectural beauty, and the notions of beauty and ugliness in general.

I do handbuilt colored clay sculpture and vessels which synthesize form and surface from industrial ruins and other sources. Artists through history have used the sculptural vessel to respond to religious, civic, historic, environmental, and utilitarian influences. In contemporary ceramics the sculptural vessel provides a ritualization and/or "domestication" of unexpected and often confrontational themes. The vessel format ties the often-perceived utilitarian/decorative ceramic tradition to the expanded contemporary role of ceramics within fine art media.

A parallel direction continues from my background as a studio potter. I am committed to the ongoing evolution of pottery in contemporary ceramics, and I do wheel-thrown pots decorated with intricate patterns of trailed and combed colored slips. This process allows spontaneous intuitive development of pure pattern imagery, which offers a good foil to the complexity and precision of the inlaid colored clay work. It also allows for ongoing exploration of firing processes, and these pots may be low-fire salt, or high-fire reduction, salt, soda, or wood-fired.

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These photos are copyrighted by Vince Pitelka. You may copy them for yourself but any duplication for commercial purposes in any form is prohibited. The electronic image and text presentation of the artist on the Internet does not waive any of the normal protections under copyright law. If you wish to use an image or refer to this webpage, please contact Michael McDowell at michael@mcdowellpottery.com.
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