Stephen Procter: Monumental Vessels

July 15, 2011 - February 6, 2012

Encountering Stephen Procter’s vessels is a full body experience. They  have a sentinel-like presence, muscular and strong-shouldered. When viewed in groupings, their body types are striking—burly, lithe, brawny, strapping. Authoritative, they compel our attention.

The silhouette of each is stately. Close examination reveals finely articulated ridges, rims, and footings. Subtle shifts in surface color or the introduction of slip glazing further distinguish each piece. And then there are the caps—each adding sartorial splendor to the sentinels keeping watch at BMAC.

— Mara Williams, Curator

A good large vessel is a numinous object, and the energy of its resident spirit has the potential to touch those who come into its presence.

My work reflects my fascination with archetypal large ceramic forms and the complex ways they elicit responses in the viewer. The material’s inherent tendencies and limitations link my work with historical and traditional ceramic vessels: The clay itself suggests the forms it is suited to. The unglazed surfaces I favor point toward what is most elemental in the material and the forms.

As a self-taught potter, my approach has been shaped partly by my training as a musician. The dynamic principles of music composition and interpretation—repetition and contrast, expansion and contraction, movement and rest—are equally at play in my ceramics work.

I build large pieces in many sections, joining wet clay to the partially dried wall in a modified version of the coil-and-throw method found in many ancient cultures. Although I work on a potter’s wheel, my attitude toward building pieces is essentially sculptural. Beginning with a rough idea of scale and mood, I improvise the details of form and decoration as the piece finds its way to completion.

— Stephen Procter

Click here to view selected images from this exhibit.

Opening Reception (7/15/11)
Sculpture Garden Dedication (8/6/11)

Stephen Procter website