Much enjoyed the current show at Lacoste--which has long been my favorite Concord, MA, Gallery. This time, owner and former ceramicist Lucy Lacoste is featuring the work of ceramicist Don Reitz– pieces from as far back as the 1960s through equally-if-not-more exciting work from 2014, just before he passed away in his 80’s.
As Lacoste explains, “Don Reitz is one of the great geniuses of contemporary ceramics and was devoted to clay, color and expression throughout his career.
“The show encompasses three periods in the Reitz’s career– the Sara series, in which he used color to narrative stories on earthenware clay, his wood-fire period using fire and ash for expression, and his color with wood-fire and salt, which was a summation of the many elements in his life works.
‘There are also connector pieces that led from one period to the next such as the colorful plates that preceded the use of color in the Sara series and earthenware with expressive brushwork that came at the end of his life.”
According to Lacoste, “The driving force in Reitz’ life was to be an artist and communicate through his art. As a youth with dyslexia, he found making marks in dirt to be expressive. He took this into his ceramics throughout his career with markings on clay being his personal language. His marks, symbols and signature were always important to him whether in his salt-fire work, where the salt melted in firing to become a revealing skin; or in the ‘Sara’ period where everything was a mark or symbolic imagery done with a colorful palette; or wood-fire where the marks were revealed through the ash. The artist has always approached his work intuitively and expressively.
“Among the pieces in the show is a wall plaque I Go Without Fear, 1984, earthenware, low-fire salt with engobes, 2 x 25 x 20” from his ‘Sara’ series. Reitz’s ‘Sara Series’ was born of adversity: while he recovered from a serious car accident and his young niece from cancer, the two exchanged drawings in what amounted to a healing partnership. A childlike sensibility with color and form in abundant informs Reitz’s work from this period. This is an endearing yet powerful work showing a stick figure cautiously and optimistically moving out into the world.
“Jammin’, 2013 is a powerful triptych being shown for the first time from the private collection of his family. This piece stands out for its bold, dynamic color and free calligraphic painting. It is one of the strongest and largest of his series of triptych showing the artist at his most painterly.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public and is wheel chair accessible.
Through March 27, 2017 at the
25 Main Street • Concord, MA 01742
978.369.0278 • www.lacostegallery.com
–Anita M. Harris
Anita M. Harris is a writer, photographer and communications consultant based in Cambridge, MA.
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, also in Cambridge, MA.