David Shaner: The Gifts He Has Made
on view at S.O.F.A. Chicago, Navy Pier, November 2-5, 2000 and in Alfred November 9, 2000 - January 18, 2001
There are undoubtedly thousands of people working in clay every day. There are potters, sculptors, brick makers, people in industry operating ram presses and firing kilns, hobby crafters, tile makers, and on and on. Yet at the end of the day when one sits quietly and contemplates inspirational contributors to the ceramics world, a short list of major contributors comes to mind. These people - potters, sculptors, designers - have influenced other clay makers of today through education or setting an example by creating exemplary ceramic work. One brief list of those who are alive today might include Peter Voulkos, Robert Turner, Ruth Duckworth, Ken Ferguson, Karen Karnes, Eva Zeisel, Val Cushing and Otto Heino. High on that list would also be David Shaner.
One thinks of David Shaner first as a ceramist - the man who successfully created a lifetime of inspiring ceramic work. He is known for his undulating wood-fired Cirque forms as well as his beautiful functional teapots and tea bowls. He and his work are included in the major tomes about American ceramics and his work graces the permanent collections of the finest American museums.
But in addition to being a ceramist, Shaner has been a lifelong collector, and is a philanthropist as well. This exhibition includes the artist's work, and works that he has collected and donated to the Schein International Museum of Ceramic Art in recent years. Shaner considers himself a natural collector. His impetus to donate work (the Archie Bray Foundation has also received gifts) is his desire to see that other people may enjoy the pieces as he has.
David Shaner as a ceramist is represented in this exhibition by pieces dating from his MFA days at Alfred - a footed planter from 1959; his time at the Archie Bray Foundation - 1964 teapot donated by Robert Turner; a 1980 wood-fired teapot with a Shino glaze; a mortar pestle form purchased by the Museum in 1988; and a 1993 Cirque form donated by the Shaners. David Shaner as a collector and philanthropist is represented by fifteen other pieces donated to the Museum in 1997 and 1998 - works by Hans Coper, Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach and Native American potters. Although this is just a peek at his contribution as a maker, collector and philanthropist, it speaks volumes about his cultural contributions which have enriched our daily lives, our educational system, and our public institutions that have been entrusted with his gifts as a maker and the gifts he has made.
David Shaner, American, born 1934, teapot, 1964, stoneware, glazed, H: (without handle): 6-3/4" (17.2 cm.), Gift of Robert Turner, 1994.167.
Hans Coper, English (b. Germany) 1920-1981, vase, 20th century, stoneware, glazed, H: 7" (17.6 cm.) Diam: 3-7/8" (9.9 cm.), Gift of David and Ann Shaner, 1997.132.
David Shaner, American, born 1934, Cirque, 1993, stoneware, glazed, H: 5" (1.27 cm.) Diam: 19-1/2" (49.5 cm.), Gift of David and Ann Shaner, 1993.41.
Laguna Pueblo, polychrome jar, ca. 1940, H: 9-1/4" (23.4 cm.) Diam: 11-1/4" (28.5 cm.), Gift of David and Ann Shaner, 1998.79.
Shoji Hamada, Japanese, 1892-1978, teapot, 1964, vase, 20th century, stoneware, glazed, H: 7-3/4" (19.7 cm.), Gift of David and Ann Shaner, 1997.133.