A multipart pottery ordering. Each triangular bowl could hold sauces or nuts or other condiments.
I started with a pie slice plastic container. I liked the triangle as a geometric form. Some designer working in autocad made the container as strong as possible with the least amount of material. It gave the bottom of the plastic and thus the clay ridges for strength (I guess).
I alternated porcelain and production clays to emphasize the six part sequence.
Obviously, most of the formal elements arise from the original ware. DeVries’ creative contribution is mostly as a curator in a conceptual manner.
How did Delft blue come about? These examples are Chinese in origin. The blue hue is thought to be in imitation of lapis lazuli and is a much older tradition (Wikipedia). It has a long history and undoubtedly DeVries has ample inventory of broken pieces.
The DeVries choice in (1) and (3) recreates the shape of the original ware in glass. The original potter’s shape is preserved. In (2) The repaired statue is surrounded by rose ‘flowers’ imagined and glued by DeVries.
Also of interest is the repeated figures in (3). Is there a story in the original? It’s lost to a casual viewer now.
“Every day in his [DeVries’] practice as a private conservator he was faced with issues and contradictions around perfection and worth: ‘The Venus de Milo’ is venerated despite losing her arms, but when a Meissen muse loses a finger she is rendered virtually worthless.’”
“Where even an almost invisible hairline crack, a tiny rim chip or a broken finger render a once-valuable object practically worthless, literally not worth the cost of restoring. There’s something incongruous about the fact that such an object, although still imbued with all the skills it took to make it – be it first-period Worcester, Kang-xi or Sevres – can so easily be consigned to the dustbin of history.”
DeVries is clear and conscious concerning his process. The cited web site explains his thoughts and theme exactly and in detail.
Lens 3) Psychological
How do you feel about the work
I felt instant identification with DeVries’ theme because of course it is mine as well.
”[Your work] looks like some kind of avant-garde Asian art.” – Chee Gan Nov. 2019
Review of Kevin Marshall’s ceramics to answer the title question.
“A remix is a piece of media which has been altered or contorted from its original state by adding, removing, and changing pieces of the item. A song, piece of artwork, books, video, poem, or photograph can all be remixes. The only characteristic of a remix is that it appropriates [ed. Uh-Oh!] and changes other materials to create something new.”
“…A remix in art often takes multiple perspectives upon the same theme.”
Line -> patterns from a range of cultures including some recognizably Eastern/Taoist (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) in contrast with portrait faces . Calligraphy is recognizably inspired by Eastern/Taoist traditions.
Form -> Clay motivated irregular forms from slab roller or made with a pin tool in contrast with portrait faces, patterns and text
Color -> 1) porcelain or light brown or 2) celadon glazes and a) glaze drips on either. Celadon and porcelain originally from Eastern/Taoist but continues in European copies and adaptations. Drips are made from very thick glaze that runs upon firing.
Balance -> precarious at best. The work would seem to be more attuned to Western modernism but also can be justified by Japanese wabi-sabi. Marshall also lightly references the Pattern & Design movement (1970’s).
Contrast -> 1) pattern vs irregular 2) calligraphy vs clay and irregular space 3) pattern vs faces 4) caligraphy vs irregularity
Scale -> houseware size, not common in Western modernism
Harmony -> present only as a meta element – disparate methods of working the clay harmonized(?) by existing in the same ware. Patterns are areas of greater harmony.
Lens 2) Biography
Biography of the artist
Pattern: Marshall has been aware of and created geometric patterns since the 1970’s. He wrote software to draw multi centered patterns in the 1980’s. He returned to computer pattern drawing in 2005.
There are some patterns that one can identify as “belonging” to a certain culture(s). On the other hand patterns are widely adopted between cultures. One could even make the case that the simplest patterns are cross-cultural. It is an artistic impulse that goes back before cave paintings. The earliest patterns would seem to be body paint and on other perishable goods.
Calligraphy: ‘Ink Brush and Paper’ course JFK University graduate study 2007.
Irregular, faces and drips: Clay studio South Seattle College 2016.
Text: Marshall began Metta meditation in 2013
Lens 3) Psychological
How do you feel about the work
Marshall repeats the metta text as he paints it.
Maitrī (Sanskrit; Pali: metta) means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others.
Europeans attempted to recreate porcelain for hundreds of years. They eventually succeeded as evidenced by delft, wedgewood, and dresden ware. Europe was not the only admirer.
“Specimens of Chinese pottery were found in the Malay Archipelago dating back to the third century A.D., T’ang Dynasty (621-907 A.D.) pottery, of the white ware, high-fired, porcelain type, was found at an archaeological dig in Samarra, (836-883 A.D.) Mesopotamia. Speculations are that this high-fired ware originated in China around 500 B.C.”
Retrieved from “https://www.lib.umn.edu/bell/tradeproducts/porcelain “ 2/22/2020.
Chinese merchants were actively spreading ware as long as 1500 years ago. Although prized at home it was also a majpr export good.
Is Marshall’s work remix or appropriation? The alphabet he uses was created in China but has not been used for 900 years. The brush work that forms the basis of his calligraphy was taught by Michael Grady from Chinese and Korean inspirations. The text is a result of his practice of Theravada Buddhism. The patterns he embosses are from many world sources including but not limited to Eastern/Taoist. The portrait faces are inspired by Franz Xavier Messerschimdt (1700’s) from Austria. He was motivated towards irregular clay handling and drips by his actions using clay and his immersion in the culture of modernism starting in the 1970’s.
Lens 5) Sociological
How does it relate to its time and culture? Why now?
To look at this question from another perspective, we can consider the work in terms of Fair Use. Although appropriation (especially from another culture) is different in kind from copyright violation, there is no accepted means to determine appropriation. Perhaps using a lens of copyright law is one metric of appropriation.
• The purpose and character of the use. Commercial -> Bad
Marshall’s work is commercial. That is, it is not criticism, educational use or parody. One does not lose right to Fair Use by having a high score in any one of the criteria. Fair Use minus.
• The nature of the copyrighted work. Imaginative and unpublished -> Bad. transforming and creating new meaning -> Good.
What is the nature of some patterns and brush calligraphy? Certainly they are published, well known and imaginative. Do the transformations create new meaning? -> Definitely. Fair Use plus.
• The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. More than an amount needed for transformative purposes -> Bad
Marshall does not make direct quotations. Thus the amount of the portion is not substantial. -> Fair Use plus
• The effect of the use on the market or potential market for the original work. Competes with original / avoid payment for use -> Bad
Here the analogy with copyright law breaks down a bit. What could one claim as the originals that Marshall bases his remixes on? A broad swath through many cultures. No obvious original -> Fair Use plus
Pattern This is such a universal it needs no sociological justification. Time spent by Marshall 32 years.
Irregular This is a given in contemporary art. Time -> 34 years
Drips The use of chance and spontaneity of material a given in contemporary art. Time -> 3 years
Faces This is such a universal it needs no sociological justification. Time -> 16 years
Calligraphy Time -> 5 years.
Text Time -> 4 years.
to suggest what the ware would look like without some attributes
Appropriation considered as an unfair power dynamic
Selected quotations and questions related to the notion that “cultural appropriation is not the same as cultural exchange, when people share mutually with each other – because cultural exchange lacks that systemic power dynamic.”
“We want your stuff, but we don’t like you” Not applicable
“Marshall is pretending to be a race that he is not, and is drawing upon stereotypes to do so.” Not applicable
“…using someone else’s cultural symbols to satisfy a personal need for self-expression is an exercise in privilege.” Uh-oh
Does Marshall know the full history of this symbol? Is it used in other cultures as well? Yes and yes except for brush calligraphy.
Does the viewer know the identity of the person (Kevin Marshall in this case) in the important categories? Male cis-gender, white, over-educated, boomer generation.
By using or doing this symbol, is this person benefiting from it socially or economically while erasing the people who made it? No.
Why does he want to do this? Marshall has been creating patterns for decades. Marshall has studied ink brush and paper both in curriculum and independently. The remix(?) incorporates many of his fervent interests.
Is it to be cool? Because it looks pretty? (Heads up: if it’s just to be cool or look pretty, it’s probably problematic) Left as an exercise for the reader.
Is this a symbol of a political statement? No. If so, does Marshall align with the politics not in just dress and appearance, but in actual struggle and resistance?
Has he been invited by a member of this community to participate in this this culture, word, or symbol? No.
What role has this symbol played in his life? Profound.
Why does he feel entitled to this symbol? This document explains his entitlement.
He was a squeegee man. At that time in New York City, men approached cars stopped at traffic lights and then squeegee’ed the driver’s windshield. This was a minor form of threat – the car wasn’t going anywhere in the congestion of downtown and a menacing man was right outside the window. He had done you, the driver, a service.
“Gimme two dollars.” said Ardnoid Brady.
Sometimes he got a five. It kept him busy and the risk was ‘jaywalking’ instead of the risks of stealing, drug ‘intent to’ (bad) or trafficking (worse).
He walked by a limo. Limos were no good for a handout. Women by themselves in mid or cheap cars, they were the best. This time, for no good reason, he squeegee’ed and tapped on the driver’s window. To his surprise he got a hundred dollar bill (!!!!!) and a business card with a phone number on it. The print was embossed and shiny.
The window rolled up and traffic moved on. Ardnoid got honked at because he wasn’t paying attention. Bad news for a squeegee man.
The card said ‘Turner Bates’ . Ard called and said:
“Hey Turner Bates. Got any more Benjamins?”
“Well yes I do” replied the voice “but you’re going to need to work for more of ’em.”
“I’m not much for work, kind of an ontrpenyour.”
“The shadow factory” (they called it that) “can make your entrepreneurial dreams come true. We’ll train you and set you up in any business you want.”
“What the fuck? what if I want to be a car dealer?”
Ard was now going to be shrewd. “Why me?”
“We know about you, we think you have potential. You would have to do us a little favor. That’s where the training comes in.”
“Jame Bond shit? Do I get a gun and waste somebody? Do I screw a rich woman and find out her secrets? ”
“You won’t know unless you show up. What we want you to do we tell you after the training. Pay is commensurate with your ability. You learn you earn. You slack off you get nothing.”
“I’ll think about it and maybe call you back.”
He did. They sped him off to an undisclosed location and he found out he was a prisoner. It was a good gig though. When he asked for a hooker why there she appeared. He did have to work though. They taught him some language and really emphasized talking in a special way. It was loud and gruff and was like a loud speech.
The really tough part was the operations on his face. He didn’t look that different but the drugs were good. It still hurt.
Finally they made him start wearing a white uniform like some general or something. They told him the training was almost over and showed him a suitcase full of money. Finally.
“Okay Ard the fun and games are about to begin.”
“Not too soon.”
“Say it in Portuguese.”
“Não muito cedo”
“Eseng haufinyane haholo”
“Good. We’re on our way.”
They let him hold the suitcase during the flight.
A black SUV drove them somewhere. By now Ard was used to being some kind of prisoner. He was dressed in that uniform and had a suitcase full of money. He was looking forward to his future.
“You’re almost done. You have to go out on stage, raise your arms and say in Portuguese and Lungabundu ‘My People’. Just like we practiced. Yell it over and over. We’ll get you after that and you’re free to spend your pay.”
When they got to some fancy building there was a crush of guys with bugs in their ears. Ard couldn’t see much of anything, They went up an elevator and though some fancy rooms. They clipped a mic to his lapel and then they said:
He walked out onto a balcony and there were thousands of people cheering and looking at him. He’d rehearsed this a thousand times in the immersive video room.
“Sechaba sa ka! Meu povo! Sechaba sa ka! Meu povo! Sechaba sa ka! Meu povo!” He yelled as loudly as he could,
And they yelled back! This was okay!
He felt like a bunch of cigarettes were being jammed into his chest. Some scrawny kid was holding an Ak-47. The gun you didn’t have to aim.
The black ops team pulled his dead body away. The assassin had already been killed by local Republican Guard bouncers.
The President in a white uniform with pig blood spattered on it strode to the front.
“Não tenha medo!”
–Don’t be afraid.
Ard is going down for the count. The lotus will receive him.
She needed a private eye. Susie knew how ridiculous that sounded. She’d never gone to the police. The diamond ring had been gone for years now. But Susie missed it because Richard had died a month ago.
Lucy and Susie were having lunch.
“Do you know what my Cara is doing now?” said Lucy.
“She’s a private investigator!”
“Still sober. So proud of her.”
“That’s such a comfort. I know you went through hell.”
“I can tell you,” said Lucy “the worst was a day when we both went into the bathroom and she was using – shooting up! in the stall next to me. I just sobbed.”
“Has she had any cases yet?”
“She just started.”
Later that day Susie was surprised by a call from a city detective.
After the polite preliminaries the detective got down to business.
“We’ve had a jailhouse confession. A prisoner has told us that he had been in possession of a ring worth quite a bit of money and he told us your name. Do you know anything about a valuable ring you believed lost or stolen?”
“No detective I can’t say that I do.”
“We thought it was odd too, but we have to follow up. I’m sure you understand.”
Cara already had a website. Susie used the contact form.
“This is your mother’s friend Susie. Would you work on a cold case?”
Many years before, Richard was talking to a coworker. He was soon to propose to Susie.
“Hey I know you’re gonna get hitched. I dun ya a favor.”
John then pulled a diamond ring out of his pocket.
“Jeez John I can’t afford that!”
“I’m offerin it to ya with a five finger discount.” He laughed.
“Your five fingers?”
“Let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy what owes me.”
So Susie had a diamond wedding ring. She knew Richard could not have afforded it. Most of the time she wore only her engagement band. She made up some excuse for the few people who asked. Soon enough it was just a given that she didn’t wear a wedding ring. It was just a quirk of hers.
A lot of the time it sat next to the sink as if Susie had absentmindedly left it there as she washed.
Cara was in Susie and Richard’s kitchen. She thought of it as Denise’s kitchen though. Denise was cool. But not cool enough to do heroin yet. She’ll get there thought Cara.
Cara felt ‘nice’. If you were one of the in crowd you knew what she meant. In addition to regular adolescent acne she scratched her skin a lot leaving red welts. She was popular none the less. She hadn’t started dealing yet. She would in a few months. But right now lack of money was starting to get in the way of feeling nice. Which she deserved to feel.
She saw the ring. It would buy a lot she thought. She hadn’t yet experienced the steep discount buyers of stolen merch faced. She was overly optimistic concerning how much a diamond ring would fetch.
But fetch the ring she did. Cara wasn’t too careful because she was high. Denise couldn’t even comprehend that Cara would do such a thing so it was invisible to her.
Cara made her excuses and left.
Later Cara was with friends. She was drinking which she seldom did. Drinking on top of everything else usually made her puke. But hey they were drinking so she did.
“Look at this!”
“Huh. Are you getting married?”
“No stupid, I’m going to score a load and you know sisters share.”
“I didn’t even need to break in nowhere. It was Denise’s house….”
“Hah! They don’t have no money. Yuh didn’t”
“I did. Denise’s mom never wears it. It’ll be weeks before she notices. Maybe it went down the sink!”
All of them laughed. They hoped she was not fibbing about sharing.
At a seedy motel Cara was meeting her ‘man’. Brad had a new supply.
“Hey howsabout I trade you this ring?”
“I’ll give you a bag”
“Shit this is a real diamond. Big huh?”
“Do I look like a jewelry shop? Okay two.”
By now Cara was starting to get itchy. She scratched. It wasn’t as bad as when the family had dragged her to the shore and she couldn’t score there. She would feel like that soon enough.
“Okay but you’re an asshole.”
“Take it or leave it. Throw in a blow job and I’ll make it three.”
“Two for now.” Cara mimed a kiss. You never knew when the trade he was offering would come in handy. Handy! Ha?
“What am I gonna do with this ring?” said Brad.
“You know who Cara stole it from?”
“Susan Sofar. Lives on Riverton next to the Walgreens.”
“Don’t care. I’ll get rid of it tomorrow.”
He didn’t. He and the ring ended up in the river. Neither was ever found.
Susie and Cara were sitting at a table next to where Lucy and revealed Cara’s new job.
“So Cara what do you think about being a …private…investigator?”
“I don’t know yet Mrs. Sofer”
“Call me Susie.”
“Su..Susie you would be my first case. Thank you for trusting me. After we finish with your business you must tell me about Denise.”
“It is about a ring.”
Cara hoped her blush was not visible from a mile away. She felt almost as bad in the pit of her stomach as the night she had been tied to a bed in rehab. She hoped she wouldn’t retch and throw up.
“…A….rin?” she managed to get out.
Susie had given her the detective’s name. Cara called him because Susie expected her to, not because she wanted to.
“Yeah uh I’m Cara Sanders. I’m an investigator Idaho badge number 4673. I’m following up on a call you made to Mrs. Sofer about an inmate’s testimony.”
“Hmmm. Give me your number, I’ll have to look it up.”
He called back.
“We’d like to get to the bottom of this. Could you come in?”
Cara was surprised at the station when the detective took her right in to the interrogation room. In it was Steve, older and much the worse for wear. He was handcuffed to a chair.
“Cara! Did they catch you?”
“Uh no. I’m a private investigator.” She hoped again that she wasn’t blushing like a red neon sign.
The detective intervened. “Do you know this man?”
Well he obviously knows my name, so I can’t outright lie she thought.
“Steve knows me.” She looked at him as though she was shooting a laser etching the words ‘shut up’ on his forehead and hoped he would take the hint.
“Remember boss? You said I could get some time off for good behavior? She’s the thief.”
This can’t be happening to me/can’t be/can’t be Cara thought. Like some dopey echo in a telenovela.
The detective grabbed Steve and slammed his head down on the table.
“You stupid shit why you waste my time? You gonna be sorry.”
“No no! Boss she’s a junkie too! Just like me!” Steve managed to get this out from the side of his mouth.
“There wasn’t a ring you just wasting my time.”
At this point Cara could have said something but she had a new life now and she didn’t.
William Gibson, the renowned author couldn’t believe his eyes. The yellow pad one of with which he always started a book was turning back into the scraps it had been made from. The yellow dye that had concealed the paltriness of the wood pulp was now running down the front of Gibson’s desk.
“Oh that scamp Deidre”, he thought. It took a long time to echo through whatever cavern he was in.
She was always teasing him that she would put LSD in his tea. Gibson guessed she had finally done it. She must be ready to quit he surmised. That surmise took a long time too. She knows I’ll fire her after this.
Although myriads of his fans believed Gibson’s oeuvre must have had some chemical oomph, he had written all his novels in normal consciousness. He’d never been a fan of any kind of drug. Reality was strange enough. Not to put too fine a point on it, reality was hard enough to bear. He was sure that intensifying it would be too much in terms of pain and suffering. He was sure.
But now he had to deal with ‘this’. Of course he had friends who were ‘in the tribe’ so to speak. He hoped he could manage the phone.
“Luvena”, he croaked. At least it sounded like a croak.
“Mx Luvena Woods.”
“No Luvena, it’s me Bill.”
“What? Bill? Are you sick?”
“Diedre dosed me with acid.”
“How utterly charming dear! I’ll be right over.”
“Luv, you’re two hours away.”
“You won’t notice.” click.
By now everything looked perfectly normal – the yellow pad had somehow reconstituted itself. But absolutely nothing was the same. When Gibson wrote about the experience later he, who millions revered for his ability to describe cyberspace and related real world locales, was at a loss. “Everything was ‘here’ but none of it was” was the best he ever came up with. That description was not even close.
In any case Luvena showed up and she had an antidote. He was eventually able to sleep.
The next few days he felt indistinct although what that meant for a human was undefined.
Diedre, as expected never showed up. She had always been a sketchy character but Gibson felt he could manage sketchy characters. His novels were filled with them.
A year later he found out how she had cashed in. He saw that a signed first edition and his notes for “CyberMinax Eternal” were gone. Diedre had the list of his richest most extreme fans. Like a stolen Mona Lisa, the buyer could never admit he or she had it, but could admire it while alone. Gibson imagined the kind of room they would have built to keep it.
He would know them when in their presence. Meanwhile he had the germ of a new story. It would start with a Pope of cyberspace and would end with the discovery of a robbery.
Here’s that Pope as promised. He and Deidre are about to float in cyberspace on a cyber balloon.
Fake cheeks cost 150 dollars. She guessed they would be worth it. She knew she was good at this. She did it all the time and now she was doing it for herself. English accent, she’d lower her voice an octave. She really was good at this. Got well paid for it
Wig, boob expanders, butt lift and even a little pot belly – She would be someone he can’t look away from and then she would know. She suspects.
It was a cocktail party for a new show by a “famous” artist. The aspiration is to act like the one you want to be. She was acting like the one she wasn’t. Sort of the same she thought. Her hands were cold with anticipation.
There he was, talking to a gallerista drinks in hand. She was the Unknown. Was he hitting on this slip of a girl?
She walked up swinging her hips which were wider than they had been.
“You’re him! You wrote that book ‘Swipe of Dark Love’!”
He turned from the girl and his eyes widened.
“Uh I think you mean ‘Touch of Dark Love’?”
“Oh how silly of me, of course ‘Touch’. Hey I want to know what everyone wants to know – did she get on the yacht?”
“Oh now… you’ll just have to wait until the sequel…”
“What’s it called? What?”
“…comes out. I know what I’m calling it, but it might not be the final title, so…”
“I want her to get on that yacht. Nolan’s not good enough for her.”
“No you can’t convince me Nolan didn’t cheat on her, so…”
“I see you don’t have a drink. Shall we go to the bar? What do you drink?”
As they chatted she looked at him with admiration. She batted her eyes. Who knew that was really a thing?
Finally he made his move.
“There’s a little hotel just a block from here. Want to come?”
“Surprise!” She whipped off her wig like a drag queen.
“You bitch!” She could see his teeth grinding. “You lying wh…”
Then he got control of himself.
“How amusingly droll, my dear”, he managed to get out. “I knew it all the time, but I wanted to play along. Kinky.”
He looked at her. Unwearable. Nothing good. Not Okay.
“Make up sex?”, he asked.
“Break up sex?”, he hoped.
And like that, she was off to look for a-better-than-Nolan and a yacht.
There she is, just like a shepherdess on the right. And there she is under the Plexiglas looking up.
Seattle, November 7th – 30th: transcentainment LLC announces a show by Kevin Marshall at Gallery 110 near Pioneer square. Marshall will be exhibiting functional fine art pottery made for modern life styles. He is offering cups, cellphone stands, shelfBoxes ™, vessels and more. His work is a combination of free form clay, tight geometric decoration, portraits and decorative glazes. Gallery 110 is located at 110 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104.
Come ‘Meet the artist’ November 30th 2-4 pm.
Louisiana Gris-gris (bags) complimentary to the first twenty guests.
Each artwork has a blessing written on it. The name of the show “May You be Happy” is one such blessing. The works are decorated with calligraphy in the Phagspa alphabet along with an English abridgement.