If the title to the ceramics show guest curated by Anders Ruhwald for the main gallery at Pewabic in Detroit sounds a little on the hippie side, that’s because it’s a snippet of text lifted from the introduction to “Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and Person” by M.C. Richards—a potter, poet and essayist who taught at the Black Mountain College in the 1940s. Ruhwald’s show, “This Is the Living Vessel: Person. This Is What Matters. This Is Our Universe,” seeks to show work that embodies some of the concepts outlined by Richards in this text, ideas about the latent capacity for creativity in all humans, and our common experience as unlocked by certain art forms.
The show presents an impactful collection of works by seven different ceramic artists living and working in America (with the exception of Howard Kottler, a posthumous contributor to the show). Each of these artists leverages the ceramic medium as a mechanism to express perspectives existing outside the white, male, heteronormative structures that govern a great deal of society, as well as the art world as a subset of society.