Within Doug Peltzman’s Pottery is a sense of comfort unique to the 21st-century. The New York artist takes in contemporary visual culture, abstracts it, and then decorates his exquisitely crafted porcelain ceramics with the results. In his surfaces, you can see shapes and geometry that are reminiscent of web design, dots and patterns referencing box-store fashion trends, and curves and shapes you can find on a new automobile. Peltzman has an incredible ability to rethink the experience of modern life, with one curious goal – to reintroduce it into our lives as functional pottery.
Peltzman explains the core of his practice, “I have always let my daily observations find their way into my work. I break things down to their essence and make abstract references of things that inspire me.”
Reintroducing abstracted contemporary culture in the form of sculpture, painting, or installation, is a hugely common art concept (Famously: Rauschenberg, Chamberlain, Nagle, etc.), but these presentation methods create distanced experiences that place the viewer outside-looking-in. These types of art give the viewer an obvious, objective viewpoint in a context that demands consideration (yay art galleries!).
Doug Peltzman takes the presentation of abstracted visual culture to an ironic new place – he reintroduces it into the very culture he appropriated it from. He does this very quietly, subversively, in a way that allows the user to gain a slow understanding of the intoxicating familiarity in the ergonomics, design, and imagery. Art galleries indicate what you need to think about, but commonly create a superficial experience lacking in lasting emotional impact. When Peltzman shows his art integrated within people’s lives, he impacts viewers with a deep emotional experience. The pots subversively affect the user and achieve an understanding of the craft and concepts that is rarely achieved by looking at an expensive painting on a big white wall.
Peltzman has had the honor of being both a juror and curator of national exhibitions. He has taught workshops nation-wide, including at Arrowmont, Goggleworks, UNT, SUNY New Paltz, The Clay Studio, and The Art School at Old Church. His huge popularity and social media presence are important aspects of Peltzman’s practice, giving him a distribution channel for his work, massage, and images of it. He is one of the most followed potters on Instagram with an audience of more than 17,000.
Do you feel a burning sense of digital-age familiarity in Doug Peltzman’s Pottery? Tell us your experience in the comments!