A Book About Seeing
Most people know my friend Rob Forbes as an expert in design, and as a businessman. But I’ve known him for more than 50 years, from the time we met in elementary school, so I’ve seen lots of his other talents. He’s a good athlete, a gifted writer, and—here’s the point of our current show—a man with a background in aesthetics and ceramics. As Rob said recently, the task of selecting works for our exhibit is “a great opportunity for me to connect some dots between periods of both my professional and personal life, stretching back to the 1970’s when I was a potter.” Like most potters, Rob had a great admiration for Peter Voulkos (here’s a photo of the two of them).
Rob puts his curiosity and intelligence into the job of curating the show. But he went far beyond the assignment of choosing works. Rob has written and published a booklet titled “See for Yourself”, an amazing little pamphlet. His 20 short chapters break into aesthetic concepts that are abstracted from the practice of making ceramics—Form, Utility, Repetition, Humility, Color, Pattern, and Texture. He’s included dozens of photos that illustrate his points. I’ve never had anyone take the task of curating a show to this level, and I’m really pleased to have a book to help explain the show.
Like most ceramists we’ve represented, Forbes extolls the direct tactile qualities of the material: “Clay dries, shrinks, and cracks. Your arms get submerged in buckets of creamy glazes and slips. It’s like working in the garden or playing in the sandbox. Soft, unctuous material is converted into one of the hardest and most durable substances known to man. And the finished, fired surfaces range from coarse matte to brilliant glassy textures, many of which need to be handled to be appreciated. Both the process and product are about touch and feel.”