I grew up in a family that loved Native American art – from basketry to pottery to large beaded works – our family room was full of these pieces on display and we regularly visited the American southwest to learn how different groups of people lived and how they created their art. It seems as though Michael Wisner similarly loves the region and their artistic traditions as his pottery pieces strongly reflect the process and look of works by the Anasazi 100s of years ago.
My understanding is that these are hand built from coils and then the patterns are impressed into the body. I’m not sure if that’s exactly right – I think it is though from his own description – I can’t imagine some carving isn’t required to make those repeat forms so so even.
For anyone who has been a reader here for a while, they know that I love geometry, regular, meditative pieces and monochromatic works. These works by Wisner fit into all those buckets.
I also have a distinct love of metallic lately and it seems as though Wisner’s been playing around with metallic glazes of late. Wisner is originally from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, which I found funny – not at all from a region where you’d think he’d be exposed to Native American traditions.
Interestingly, Wisner was deeply inspired to focus on quality in Mata Ortiz, Mexico, which is where one of my favorite pieces in my parent’s collection is from, a black wedding pot that I never could believe was handmade.
I love the shadows created by the textures and the fact that it looks practically woven! Or an alien spaceship.
Something else interesting is that it seems Wisner pays close attention to where he sources his clay from. If you check out his site you’ll see photos of his clay excavations. So often we focus so much on the product that we don’t ask questions about where the raw materials came from!