Detail View

Ritual Display
Date: 1993
Culture: African-American
Dimensions: Overall: 18 in. x 17 1/2 in. (45.7 x 44.5 cm)
Medium: stoneware
Credit Line: Gift of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Ceramics Department
Label Text: A serpentine form curves along the top edge of a cavernous black vessel, revealing only its head and portions of its long body. Its shape is repeated in silvery black on the interior surface-it appears to have curled up inside the vessel, waiting to come out. The rough exterior creates a strong contrast to the smooth edge and interior space. This powerful, organic sculpture resembles a large urn that in another time or culture might have been used for some sort of religious ritual. James Watkins studied ceramics and drawing at Indiana University, earning an MFA in 1977. Currently he resides in Lubbock, Texas where he is a member of the Texas Tech faculty. Ritual Display is very representative of most of Watkins' work: double-walled vessels that incorporate either snake or bird imagery with a subtle sense of movement. He is concerned with creating visual as well as tactile texture in an exploration of ritual symbolism. Watkins also works from his own personal experiences, dreams and observations of nature to create sculptures that exude strength and sensuality with masculine and feminine characteristics.
Object Number: 1993/4.30
Currently not on view