A prodigiously gifted artist, Alan creates figural pieces, both fanciful and traditional, traditional Zuni pots, strikingly handsome contemporary ones, and pottery that combines the two, as here.
Known for his decidedly contemporary pottery, this young artist demonstrates that he is equally at home following Zuni tradition – more or less!
Creating a flat, only slightly concave form, especially as large as this plate, is a heroic feat when coiling the piece.
As thin and seemingly fragile as a wafer, this gorgeous plate is flawless in its traditional fabrication: hand-gathered local clay, hand-mixed, coiled, smoothed, daubed with a red micaceous slip, painted with black vegetal paint, and pit-fired.
Covered all over with that coppery, mica-infused clay slip, the plate sparkles and glows as if sprinkled with diamond dust.
The design combines traditional elements such as parallel lines denoting rainfall, sharply acute triangles, and three lenticular shapes, in the center, representing storm clouds.
These are all ancient good-luck symbols since the Zuni depend on rain for irrigating their crops.
However, the artist has transformed these old symbols into an energetic geometric design that seems dynamically modern.
The delicacy and precision of the form and the bold painting demonstrate his artistic confidence
He is as comfortable in this traditional realm, as in his award-winning, contemporary-as-tomorrow pieces.
This gifted potter may be known for pushing the envelope, but here, he shows that he is beautifully rooted in past traditions, too.