Sunday, January 3, 2010
Warren McKenzie and Randy Johnston
I took too long getting to this post. Today, Jan. 3, Warren McKenzie's restrospective show at the Fuller Craft Museum closes.
The Fuller is a wonderful small museum in Brockton, Mass., about 45 minutes from us in Falmouth and a half-hour from Boston. Well worth visiting. Brockton is a down-at-the-heels small city known for its long-gone shoe industry and also as the birthplace of undefeated (and also long-gone) American heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano. You approach the museum from the highway, driving past the usual fast-food restaurants and gas stations. But the museum itself sits isolated and quiet on a pond surrounded by woods. It is known for adventurous and quality exhibitions of craft. McKenzie's show was vast, more than 200 works that traced his long career. A beautiful show, spoiled just a bit because no one could touch the work. I hate that. But it's a museum, after all. Guards kept a sharp lookout for touchers flouting the rules.
Randy Johnston's show, on the other hand, is at the Pucker Gallery on Newbury St. in Boston, where touching is allowed, even encouraged. Johnston's show is up through the Jan. 18. Johnston was one of McKenzie's students at the University of Minnesota and long ago established himself as a fine potter, as is his wife and studio partner Jan McKeachie Johnston. This show at the Pucker is smaller and is not a retrospective, but a snapshot look of a potter in mid-career. All of the pots are wood-fired in an anagama kiln, all are ... I want to say they're roughly made, but that's not right ... they're carefully made but they are the kind of loose, imperfect pots that are best served by firing in an anagama, where the flame and ash batter the clay walls and leave no question of how they were fired. The Pucker's fine catalog is available as a download from the gallery website, at http://www.puckergallery.com/exhibitions.html. Do it. It's worth seeing.
Or, better, visit the gallery. You can touch the pots.
Above, Randy Johnston jar at top and Warren McKenzie serving dish below.