Sunday, March 8, 2009


Dillingham RickAM5.jpg

Rick Dillingham was probably the most talented and amusing person I've ever known. He was one of those people who make you feel that the world is a wide-open, wonderful place and anything is possible. I can count the few times I spent in his company - they weren't nearly enough, but each one was memorable. He was eight years my junior, but he seemed older and wiser - well, that wouldn't have been too difficult, but you know what I mean - he was also one of the sexiest men I've met. It was the sensuousness of a potter coupled with an infectious sense-of-humor and worldliness. Thirty years on, I still miss him and measure my responses against "what Rick would have thought."

Born in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1952, he studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, and received his B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 1974. In 1979 he completed his M.F.A. at California's Claremont Graduate School. He received Visual Artists Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1977 and 1982. Apart from his work as an artist, Dillingham was interested in a broad range of activities. He was a dealer in historic American Indian pottery and curated a number of exhibitions. Dillingham’s pottery reflected his knowledge of , and interest in, American prehistoric Indian pottery. He became intrigued by the notion of the vessel as an assembly of shards when he was restoring posts at the Museum of New Mexico, Laboratory of Anthropology, in Santa Fe. He created what Garth Clark calls “a symphony of shards” breaking the pots into pieces and carefully reassembling them and painting the individual pieces with color, pattern or gilding them with gold leaf. Rick died in Santa Fe in 1994 at the age of 42.


Ricks' reassembled pots are extraordinary. In this case, photographs really cannot do them justice. Each one seems to be a whole cosmos contained within itself. More than anything, they leave one with the memory of an intensity and depth of color rarely seen. One longs to touch them, but for the fact that, because of their (re)construction, they vibrate with the fragility of a Ming vase.


Bio (edited) from Gareth Clark Gallery

See also: Rick Dillingham @ Adobe Gallery
And: Linda Durham Contemporary Art

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