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Bede Clarke

American, b. 1956

Lidded Vessel

12 x 20 x 20 in. (30.48 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Bede Clarke calls himself a “mischievous” explorer of clay. Adept with wood and electric kilns, high- and low-fire treatments, Clarke balances wildness and restraint in his experiments. This aim is recognizable in his Lidded Vessel, which is massive and scarred. From afar, the exterior surface looks like rough leather, but closer up it is a cacophony of colors and textures: wavelike patterns alongside violent scratches and stabs. The broad contours are geometric, but the surface seems to bear the marks of heavy use—down to the cross-shaped patches across its center. A vessel with no obvious purpose, it nevertheless provokes speculation about its construction and journey.

Clarke received a BFA from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. From 1992 to 2021 he taught ceramics at the University of Missouri, where he is now professor emeritus. As an educator, Clarke presented more than one hundred lectures and workshops throughout the US and internationally, and participated in artist residencies in locations as distant as Australia. His production ranges from vessels and sculptures to ceramic wall pieces and works on paper; he continues to produce objects from his studio in Columbia, Missouri.

Danielle Stewart

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