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Warren MacKenzie


Platter with Iron Stamping
circa 2014

3.375 x 17.125 x 17.25 in.
Gift of Peter and Jodie Gerdes

Platter with Iron Stamping combines the simplicity and grace Warren MacKenzie’s vessels were known for with the gestural expressiveness of the stamped crosshatching lines of the platter’s surface. The iron stamping across the surface contrasts with the glazed stoneware, giving a sketched appearance that is loose and animated. MacKenzie was deeply influenced by Japanese Mingei, a folk art movement that venerated the beauty found in everyday utilitarian objects. The platter’s form does not attempt to mask its handmade origins, distinguishing itself from the regularity of industrially mass-produced ceramics.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Warren MacKenzie grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, just north of Chicago. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1947. MacKenzie and his wife Alix apprenticed under Bernard Leach at St. Ives in Cornwall, England from 1949 to 1952—the first Americans to do so. MacKenzie returned to the United States and began teaching at the University of Minnesota, where he worked from 1953 until 1990. His philosophy and dedication to simplicity, utility, and natural beauty had a long-lasting impact on American ceramics far beyond Minnesota.

Matthew Limb

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