Barry Rhodes Biography
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.
Barry Rhodes Description
The pieces are constructed in a variety of ways. Some are hand built, some made from molds of thrown forms, some extruded, and thrown on the wheel. The surface decoration consists of clay slips and underglazes that are painted onto the piece. The stripes are applied with underglazes and a lot of masking tape. I also use underglaze crayons, pencils and stamps to augment the stripes. The flower patterns are applied by a method called tissue transfer, which involves printing ceramic oxides onto tissue paper using various techniques. This method of surface decoration is over 200 years old and is responsible for the complex surfaces on a whole genre of collectable antique pottery now referred to as “transferware”. Many of the tissues I use are commercial but some I print myself. The tissue is placed face down against the pot and wetted. The water helps transfer the oxide from the tissue to the surface of the pot. The entire piece is then covered in an alkaline glaze with varying amounts of iron oxide, fired to cone 6 and allowed to cool very slowly. There is no lead or other toxic chemical used in any of my glazes. The clay is vitreous and will absolutely hold water without any leakage or sweating, making the forms ideal for flower arranging or food.
Barry Rhodes Statement
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.