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Thursday, January 5


The Mad Potter of Biloxi

George Ohr (1857-1918) created an expansive body of ceramic work around 1880-1910 exhibiting remarkable craftsmanship and a genius for form and colour. His thin distorted vessels, dressed in experimental glazes, offended the aesthetic conventions of his contemporaries in America at the turn of the century.

The joy of creation and his love for the material is tangible. He rejected uniformity and the perfected utilitarian object by boasting no two pots alike. Truly gifted, Ohr’s work anticipates abstract expressionism and conceptual art. He is one of the few historically born to serve a specific purpose in life.

Ohr found beauty in happenstance and the unexpected. His character through his work reads as a man who could laugh at life. He is an idiosyncratic talent whom I regret is not infamous amongst contemporary artists, designers and craftspeople.

After working at about 14 professions and that many businesses also, and remembering what the old lady private school teacher told me once – to always fill a want – when I found the potter’s wheel I felt it all over like a wild duck in water.

Ohr, George E. “Some Facts in the History of a Unique Personality : Autobiography of Geo. E. Ohr, the Biloxi Potter.” Crockery and Glass Journal 12 December 1901 : 54

Visit the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Images sourced from :
Herndon, Constance, ed. The Mad Potter of Biloxi. New York : Abbeville Press Publishers, 1989.

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