The Nevica Project

Robert Fornell

From his website,

"Growing up in Minnesota where, via the influences of the many local potters, the climate for making pottery has a distinctly Japanese folk pottery or mingei air to it, I began my work in high school making “Japanese” inspired functional pots. As the years progressed my work turned to non-functional, and then, to purely sculptural concerns until my first trip to Japan in 1987 when the circle began to close. My residency there lasted from 1988 to 1996, and during that time I came to realize how deeply ceramics were imbedded in the culture via the tea ceremony, flower arranging, the various styles of regional cooking, etc. I became drawn to Japanese pottery such as Oribe with its painterly playfulness, to Shino, with its soft, rich textural surfaces, and to Shigaraki/Iga, with their truth to materials/process approach. More recently, via my interest in making wares for the tea ceremony, my attention has turned to Korean influenced work, specifically Hagi as well as Karatsu style ware. In contrast to Mingei style pottery where the artist tends to express himself consciously via decoration such as brushwork, I try to let my work carry more of a truth to materials approach taking the role of the enabler, rather than that of the creator. Coming from more of an abstract-expressionist approach, as well as consciously stepping back to let the materials speak for themselves, I look to find and use materials in a rawer state in hopes of allowing the clay and fire their voice. Although it may sound like an oxymoron, most of my work is completed unfinished, or in a state where hopefully the viewer/participant completes the work via the type of food or drink served or the flower arrangement created. This approach allows more interaction between pot and participant as well as allowing the various aspects of each pieces’ personality to emerge over time and with use."