Robert C. Turner - American Ceramic Artist

Robert Turner — Shaping Silence, A Life in Clay

From the Publisher (2003)

Robert Turner is one of the most important ceramic artists in the United States today. Distinguishing himself in the art pottery movement of the sixties, Turner rose to prominence when he moved from functional pieces to sculptural forms and began to create a body of work notable for its dynamic yet serene forms.

From the outset, Turner's life and work had a strong spiritual base. His Quaker beliefs and early pacifist views led to his being stationed in work camps during World War II. After the war, he gained wide recognition when he set up the first ceramic studio at the renowned Black Mountain College in North Carolina, known for its leadership of the avant-garde art movement. Decades of distinctive, pioneering work culminated in top awards in the United States and Europe in the 1990s.

In this first monograph on the artist's long and fascinating career, Marsha Miro has taken a maverick approach with her incisive text, interspersing telling comments from Turner himself with her own explorations of the artist's achievements. Much weight and thought is given to the creative process as revealed in her extensive interviews. A second essay by leading ceramicist Tony Hepburn provides a personal commentary on Turner's art, while Janet Koplos, a senior editor at Art in America, contributes a reflective introduction.

Beautifully illustrated with pivotal works spanning the artist's distinguished career, Robert Turner — Shaping Silence not only relates the compelling story of a young artist's journey toward formal mastery but furnishes essential documentation on one of the most intriguing periods of the American crafts movement. Artists, collectors, and students will find this volume inspirational, and invaluable on many levels.

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Background images: (Top) Robert Turner in his Alfred studio, 1997/ John Wood, photographer. (Right) Robert Chapman Turner, ca. 1965 / unidentified photographer.
Source: Robert Chapman Turner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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