For Alex Matisse, pottery is a true labor of love. He makes most of his clays from local sources and spends hours in the studio doing the intricate slip-trailed decorations. A great grandson of Henri Matisse and also the step-grandson of Marcel Duchamp, Alex’s inherent artistic talent is enhanced by intensive hands-on training and diligent work.
No Longer Available
Alex Matisse at MudFire
Group show Asheville in Atlanta, September 2011
Alex Matisse Artist Statement
I grew up in a converted white clapboard church in the center of a small New England town to a family of artists and anthropologists. One side nurtured artistic creation, while the other explored, among other things, the function of art in society. My interest in clay is an intersection of these two sides, art and its function, both holy and humble.
For three years, I apprenticed in the workshops of North Carolina potters Matt Jones and Mark Hewitt. Their work combines traditions, from the Anglo-Oriental school of Leach, Hamada, and Cardew to the folk pottery of the south-eastern United States and many places between. In their workshops I learned to love these simple pots; adorned or bare, quiet and strong, they make their place comfortably at the table or hearth and speak to the thousands of years of pots before them.
My work is made in a fusion of preindustrial country traditions in both process and material. It is fired in a large wood burning kiln and made of as many local materials as the chemistry will allow, while still affording me the physical attributes necessary for my aesthetic decisions.
I believe in the beautiful object; that there are inescapable aesthetic truths, physical attributes, that remove time and place from the defining characteristics of the made object. These objects can be viewed today or many years from now and be understood as beautiful. Though their quotidian value may become antiquated, their aesthetics will save them. I believe in making pots that carry this truth while, as Henry Glassie told me in passing one day, holding one hand to the past with the other outstretched to the future.