Some of these pots are almost more hole than pot. Tony Marsh’s perforated vessels drift through light and hover in a way quite unexpected for a clay pot.
Marsh coats the perforated structures with up to six layers of viterous engobe, a mixture of slip and glaze, which, when fired, forms a crust that refracts light.
This gives the vessels an ethereal, dematerialised quality, slightly ghostly and with a softness that completely belies the hardness and strength necessary for the ceramic material to withstand the extent to which it has been punctured.
The perforated vessels represent one aspect of Marsh’s ceramic work. He also makes much more solid forms with smooth, monochrome glazes or with complex, painterly surfaces, for which a dark, glossy glaze has been painted over with a layer of peeling slip.
His focus is on the vessel form but he often makes works that comprise numerous small vessel type objects collected together in a larger, dish like container, where they are cradled.
Marsh trained at a California State University and studied in Japan for three years with Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a Mingei potter who was later named a ‘Living National Treasure’ by his country.
Marsh’s work sees the materiality of ceramics, of clay and its processes, which is what enables him to dematerialise it so effectively.
P.S. he was born in 1954 in New York.