I take a very graphic approach to pottery while still paying homage to the depth of surface found on hi-fired stoneware. The pieces are designed to be used as flower containers, tea cups, or elegant presentations for food or drink. Though I do occasionally wander into the area of ceramic sculpture, I never stray very far from some form of functionality. Like many potters of my generation, I have been heavily influenced by the great pottery of Japan. However, one of the benefits of growing up in the multi-cultural milieu of America is that I have always felt free to pick and choose the most interesting aspects of many cultures, and to re-interpret the essence of those cultures in interesting ways. I value simplicity of form, while superimposing onto the surface a complex iconography made up of fragments of my past. I have always been interested in repeating patterns associated with meditation, the music of Henryk Gorecki, or the quantum wave patterns associated with my former days as a Physicist. I suspect that these interests are the origin of (some would say obsession with) the stripes. However I have a need to balance the inorganic nature of the hard edge stripes with oriental flower patterns. The crazy quilt approach seems to work as a fitting metaphor for my life and work
The pieces are all hand built, some from molds taken from thrown forms, some extruded and some built by coiling. The surface decoration consists of clay slips and underglazes crayons, pencils and stamps to augment the stripes. The entire piece is covered in an iron saturated glaze, fired to Cone 6 and allowed to cool slowly. There is no lead or other toxic chemicals used and while technically food safe, the surfaces can be a bit rough and not really suitable for use with wet foods. The clay is vitreous and will absolutely hold water without any leakage or sweating making the forms ideal for flower arranging.
Barry Rhodes has been a potter for almost 30 years having started as an apprentice under Rick Berman and Glenn Dair in the late 70’s at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia. From there he maintained a studio in the old Nexus Arts Center in Atlanta, producing vessels shown throughout the United States. In addition to pottery, Barry has a Ph.D. in Physics from Emory University and taught at Clark Atlanta University in the Department of Physics for ten years. He now works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he is a Computer Scientist in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.