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Rick Dillingham

American
(1952–1994)

Globe
1989

Earthenware
12 x 17 x 17 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation with matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts
1990.2

Globe is one of the forms in which Rick Dillingham explored his “broken pot” method, where first he bisque fired the vessel before ritualistically breaking it apart. After glazing the shards with copper luster and a swirling lattice pattern, he reassembled the pieces to create a patchwork of color and design. The fractured surface, the variety in coloration due to the firing process, and the use of Native American motifs create the illusion of a reassembled archaeological find. Dillingham’s Globe is radical in that it uses the act of repair as a metaphor for both healing and to illuminate the segregation between his “art” object and Native American ceramic objects often deemed “artifacts” by anthropologists.

Born in 1952, Rick Dillingham was raised in Thousand Oaks, California. As a young man, he benefited from proximity to many legendary ceramic artists in Southern California, especially Beatrice Wood and Vivika Heino. Inspired by his interest in Native American culture, Dillingham moved to Albuquerque, where he received his BFA from the University of New Mexico in 1974. He returned to Southern California to train with Hal Riegger for his MFA at the Claremont Graduate School, which he completed in 1976. Moving once again to New Mexico, he deepened his connections to Native American potters, including María Martinez and Elmer Gates. In Santa Fe, he pursued a multifaceted career as an artist, curator, gallerist, and historian of Native American art. He is the author of the key texts on Southwestern Native American pottery, Acoma and Laguna Pottery and Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery. Dillingham died at age forty-one due to complications of HIV/AIDS.

Matthew Limb


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