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William Parry (don't forget to) Wonder
ceramic sculpture from the Museum collection

December 1, 2004 - April 1, 2005
image of William Parry
William Parry, 1991

This special exhibition of twelve works by William Parry (1918-2004) from the Museum collection opens December 1, 2004. Most of these sculptures are part of a recent gift from Elizabeth Parry. The exhibited work spans the years of 1965 through 1993. Included will be examples of his Knife, Fork, Spoon series and his Off-Butterfly series, O.B. #26, a gift to the museum from the artist in 1991. Three sculptures that combine the use of clay and metal will also be exhibited in addition to other early work.

William Parry (BFA Alfred, ‘47) taught at the School of Art & Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University from 1963 until his retirement in 1989. Prior to that he taught at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts). His career as an artist and teacher extends across 50 years. He was the first President of NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). William was an active supporter of the Museum and a member of its development council. In addition to the S-JIMCA, his work is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Everson Museum; Museum of Art and Design (originally the Museum of Contemporary Crafts) and he has exhibited nationally and internationally.

Of his own work he wrote: “...less and less I have been able to visualize the end results in advance; more often the resolution is found on the way. The variety and importance of different materials change on the basis of their structural roles. Forms arise and as they develop, questions arise about what they want to become and how they are to be called, in what becomes self-dialogue rather than the execution of plan. The problem I set for myself has become one of expression rather than illustration.” (1989)

And of his views on teaching: “As a teacher of sculpture I am an expediter - a facilitator - rather than an oracle on the source of the mysteries. I want to help establish the climate in which the student can try to create forms which will stand for his/her mental images – in other words to help her/him externalize those relationships of form which constitute sculpture.” (1979)

“at last, at long last in my teaching experience, my aim in teaching is to put some things within your reach – to put them in your hands is to rob them of importance to you.” (1985)

Finally, he begins a page of his notes with the following (unattributed) quote: “We will not die through lack of power but one may die through lack of wonder.” Parry ponders the meaning of the words wonder and wonderful and urges us to be contemplative in the actions of our lives and reminds us “don’t forget to wonder.” (1968)

William Parry Knife, fork and spoon series
William Parry, KFS #15 from the
knife, fork and spoon series.
1991-1992, white stoneware
with copper oxide slip,
h: 10-3/4" w: 16-1/2" d: 3-1/4" (knife)
gift of Elizabeth Parry, S-JIMCA
View of exhibition Wonder, sculpture by William Parry
View of exhibition Wonder, sculpture by William Parry, front Sprial River Table, 1990-92, stoneware, glazed, h: 15 "w: 18" d: 17", gift of Elizabeth Parry, S-JIMCA
View of exhibition Wonder, sculpture by William Parry
View of exhibition Wonder, sculpture by William Parry, left Off-Butterly #26, 1986, ceramic with oxides, h: 18" w: 35-1/2" d: 20", gift of the artist, S-JIMCA 1991.31; right The Last Complaint of the Armored Man, 1966, unglazed ceramic, h: 53" w: 13" d: 10", gift of Elizabeth Parry, S-JIMCA
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