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Mark Pharis

American, b. 1947


8.5 x 8.25 x 5.25 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Nearly all of Mark Pharis’s early work was functional, created in a wood-and-oil-fired, usually salt kiln, but since 1992 he has worked exclusively with electric-fired earthenware. Around the time he turned to earthenware he began “making work that I felt was mine,” he has said. This Teapot is one of these works. It’s handbuilt, based on forms cut from slabs using two-dimensional paper patterns. The process owes much to the traditions of pattern making found in sewing and sheet-metal work. His glaze designs and forms are geometrically based, yet casual and intuitive.

Pharis began his career studying at the University of Minnesota with Warren MacKenzie in 1967. Between 1971 and 1985 he was employed by various universities, mostly in the Midwest, as a visiting faculty member, sabbatical replacement, or summer-session faculty. After working as an independent potter for several years, in 1985 Pharis joined the University of Minnesota faculty, served as the chair of the department from 1998 to 2004, and was an associate dean from 2005 to 2008. His work can be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Gardner Museum in Toronto, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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