Five Artists of Fire and Clay
Ceramics and Generational Learning
Richard Bresnahan graduated from Saint John's University in 1976, having studied under the potter Bill Smith and the renowned scholar of Japanese ceramics, Johanna Becker, OSB. He then apprenticed in Japan with Nakazato Takashi, whose father was a "living national treasure." Deep respect for material and the environment characterize Bresnahan's approach to pottery production, and innovation and experimentation inform his ongoing dialogue with clay and fire. Bresnahan's pottery embodies both the nature of his locality–through the use of local materials–and his own inimitably Midwestern artistic vision.
Kevin Flicker graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in 1974 with degrees in Psychology and English. After the completion of his apprenticeship with Richard Bresnahan at the Saint John's Pottery in 1985, Flicker returned to Morris as a ceramic instructor, a position he has held ever since. Many of his students have successfully entered graduate programs, residencies, and apprenticeships. He also frequently exhibits his work in solo and group exhibitions. Flicker's passion is to create high-quality, functional ceramics from local materials. His quiet, unassuming wares are suprisingly elegant.
Stephen Earp apprenticed at the Saint John's Pottery for two-and-a-half years beginning in 1987, honing his skill and adopting the rhythm and discipline of the studio. His deep concern for the Nicaraguan people after the Contra War led him to join Potters for Peace, a non-profit organization whose members assist struggling potters in indigenous populations worldwide. These experiences caused him to reflect on his own cultural heritage through his research in early American redware. Like many early settlers, Earp uses clay that he digs locally, reflecting traditions that stretch back to colonial America and to Europe.
Samuel Johnson completed his apprenticeship with Bresnahan in 1999 and later studied Scandinavian ceramic design at Denmark's design school in Copenhagen. While in Denmark, he also worked at the International Ceramic Center in Skaelskor. In 2001, he traveled to Japan and worked for a time in the studio of the renowned potter Koie Ryoji, but also took the opportunity to visit other notable ceramic artists including Goro Suzuki, Kanzaki Shiho, Izezaki Jun and Ryuichi Kakurezaki. Johnson works as Assistant Professor of Art at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.
Anne Meyer is the youngest artist of the five featured in the exhibition. After completing her studies with Kevin Flicker in Morris, she apprenticed at the Saint John's Pottery from 2004 to 2006. She traveled to Tokoname, Japan, in 2006 where she worked in the studio of the potter Koie Ryoji and participated in several wood firings. Although Meyer trained in all aspects of pottery production and is recognized for her skill at the potter's wheel, her true passion lies in ceramic sculpture. Her woodfired figures have a timeless quality, seemingly as ancient as the earth and yet in a state of transformation and evolution.