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Harris Deller

American, b. 1947


12 x 12 x 3.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Is Harris Deller’s Teapot a vessel or a canvas? Deller combines basic shapes—a cylinder, a triangle—with two coiled tubes resembling a spout and handle. The title provided, Teapot, directs the viewer to understand the combined flattened shapes into a form for a ceramic object used to serve tea and coffee. In Teapot, Deller turns to abstraction to reconsider the role of volume in a ceramic vessel. Historically, volume has been of critical importance to the role of ceramics in human history—as a container for something. By squeezing the volume out of vessel, Deller has transformed the nature of the ceramic vessel’s form. The abstracted teapot embraces flatness and embraces a two-dimensional plane for mark making, done through incised lines that are scratched with black glaze—providing a graphic quality.

Harris Deller was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Northridge and went on to complete his Master of Fine Arts at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he graduated in 1973. Deller operated the ceramics program at Southern Illinois University, an influential craft school in Carbondale, Illinois from 1975-2013.

Matthew Limb

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