Duet: Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle / SMAart Gallery & Studio, San Francisco November 1-30, 2012
Opening Reception: November 1st, 6-10 pm.
Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle (Thundercloud studio) present a collection of their beautiful recent works. Both artists use metal salts that permeate the surface of their burnished vessels. The results are an incredible watercolor like surfaces reminiscent of galaxies, the deep ocean weathered stone, frosted glass or microorganisms.
"My approach is to combine ancient methods of stone-burnishing and earthenware firing with computer-aided shape design to produce talismans that fuse traditional and modern aesthetics. Surface markings are created by painting water-soluble metal salts on bisque-fired clay. These watercolors permeate the clay body, and become a permanent part of the surface when fired. I have a strong affinity for intricate abstract patterns, ones that can’t be fully comprehended with a single glance, an invitation to in-depth exploration." Mark Goudy
"I seek to create a work which evokes a sense of wonder and mystery, forms that beckon to be held and admired. I find delight in closely observing and then interpreting natural objects and events – weathered boulders on a mountain slope, wind ripples on a gray blue sea, complex designs on a delicate bird egg – their rhythms, patterns and forces have greatly inspired my work." Liza Riddle
SMAart Gallery & Studio was founded in September 2012 and opened its doors at 1045 Sutter Street in San Francisco.
SMAart offers gallery exhibits, studio rentals and ceramic classes. Founder Steven M Allen opened SMAart to fulfill a longtime dream of having a gallery, a place to teach art to the community, and a place to create art in a creative open environment surrounded by other inspiring artists.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Your work with ceramics has been active only in the last three years. What did you do before that? Tell us about your first experience with ceramics.
Mark Goudy: Well, my mother was a potter, starting back in the early 70’s, and so when I was a teenager I was exposed to clay through her work. She had a studio in our basement, with a wheel, kiln, glaze mixing area, etc. I tried throwing on the wheel back then, but I didn’t really connect with the craft aesthetic or the making process during that time. I was more interested in playing music and adventuring outdoors than working with mud.
Somehow thirty years went by before getting my hands back in the clay again. I ended up studying engineering and enjoyed a twenty-year career in the computer industry (designing graphics chips for companies such as Pixar, Silicon Graphics, and nVidia). It wasn’t until a little while after my mother passed away that my wife Liza had the idea of paying homage to her creative spirit by taking a raku class at our local adult school. Pull pieces directly out of a red-hot kiln and drop them into burning sawdust? …sign me up! It was fun performance art, but it was the building process that really drew me in. I started hand-building and designing systems to create forms that reflected my own sensibilities. More classes followed, and within a couple years I left the virtual world of computer engineering and was spending a lot of time in the clay studio. It was refreshing to be working with such a physical material and in a process where every piece created embodies its own unique identity.
Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m70) 7”w x 3”h; (m81) 10.5”w x 4”h; (m71) 8”w x 3.5”h
You usually work with soluble metal salts, that give impressive shapes and patterns. How do you make the pieces?
I may have been influenced by my experience in computer graphics, where you can render all sorts of interesting objects composed from intersecting curved surfaces, but early on I wanted to get away from the radially symmetric forms that come about from working with the wheel. So I learned about slab construction and ended up making a series of special hump molds (by pouring plaster into stretchy fabric suspended through triangular cutouts in plywood) to shape the clay. These molds enabled me to construct forms out of asymmetric parabolic curved surfaces, which had immediate appeal. My basic process is to shape, and then join these surfaces together to make my rounded vessels. The arcs in these pieces are designed to fit the sweep of my hand as I burnish the surface by rubbing with a smooth stone. For now, I enjoy working in a scale that fits easily into the hands, with forms that feel like waterworn stones.