This collection is dedicated to Rick Dillingham
lover of all things Hopi and my teacher and friend.
Rick with bowl 1993-04 in this collection.
That hardly covers the territory. In his late teens Rick studied prehistoric and historic Southwestern Indian pottery at the University of New Mexico and learned to restore shattered specimens. Rick became a master potter and received two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships. His work is included in the collections of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Albuquerque Museum,The New Mexico Museum of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.
Rick challenged conventional notions of ceramic “perfection.” Drawing on his experience with prehistoric southwestern pottery, he began to deliberately break his bisque-fired pots, then decorated and refired the pieces and reassembled the pots. The tall vase, shown below, is an example of this deconstructed style. For a pot formed by Rick and painted and fired by Tewa-Hopi artist Rachael Sahmie, see 2023-08.
He wrote numerous articles about pueblo pottery and is the author of three books on the topic. He learned from Native potters and from these friendships became a dealer of contemporary and historic pueblo pottery. It was in that role that I learned from Rick and bought from him. On one of these visits he asked me what I thought of some bright kiln-fired pots sitting on a table. “They’re not Hopi” I replied, revealing my limited aesthetic sensibility. It was not until several years later that I learned that Rick made pots.
“Conventional” and “Rick Dillingham” have never before appeared in the same sentence. Honest, both self-assured and self-critical, often stubborn and certainly generous, Rick loved and made friends, books and pottery entirely on his own terms.
That is several lifetimes of achievement in one short life.
He is missed.
Created by Rick Dillingham in 1985: 21.25"h X 10”w.