Spin

    print on bone china

    each plate 27 cm diameter

    Robert Dawson 2010

    Spin

    print on bone china

    each plate 27 cm diameter

    Robert Dawson 2010

    Spin by Robert Dawson

     

    A review by Alvy Ray Smith, the cofounder of Pixar:

    One of Pixar’s secrets of success in computer-generated animated movies is a technique called motion blur. An animated movie is essentially a sequence of 24 still pictures projected each second. But if you take that literally, a serious problem arises. Our human brain has to derive motion between a character in one frame and the same character in the next frame, slightly displaced from the former, when the information between the frames is missing. In general, our brains need help to make the leap to the correct motion of the character. Without help, each frame just springs instantaneously to the next, often creating an unpleasant “stuttering” effect, a stutter for the eye rather than the ear. The solution is to blur the parts (upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs, hands, etc.) of a character slightly in their independent directions of motion. Each frame is therefore out of focus, seen as a still picture, but the cumulative effect in a projected movie is smooth and proper motion of the character. The brain predicts the direction and amount of all motions from the clues of the motion blurred parts. In fact, classic cinematography blurs each photographic frame the same way during the finite exposure time of each frame.

    When I first saw Robert Dawson’s Spin, I realized that he had artistically captured our “secret,” honoring simultaneously both motion blur and the traditional, always delightful, Blue Willow pottery design. I immediately obtained an edition of this remarkable piece for my home, where it is prominently displayed.

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    Collections include:

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

    The Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden

    Permanenten Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum, Bergen, Norway

    RIAN Design Museum, Falkenberg, Sweden

    [I] was completely knocked out by them [the Spin china plates] - a beautiful manifestation of a great formal idea. I loved the way in which the glaze seemed to have captured a split-second in time, reminding us of course of a much earlier stage in the making process, as well as the juggler's trick. As an artist filmmaker who explores time a lot in my own work I found the tension between the illusion of movement and the fixedness of the glaze, that most permanent of finishes, truly wonderful.

     

    John Smith

     

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    These six plates are by the Englishman Robert Dawson. Dawson may be one of the smartest, most innovative artists of our time. The only reason heʼs not famous is because heʼs chosen to use his smarts in ceramics. But instead of seeking higher status by pushing pottery toward the issues of fine art, as some of his peers tend to do, Dawson makes clay talk about its own history. In these six plates, heʼs literally given a new spin to the great blue-and-white tradition, making each one look like a classic dish in rotation. And he uses this device to talk about some of the central facts of all claywork. His plates take circularity, the principle behind thousands of years of thrown pottery forms, and make it the principle behind their surface transformations. They also stretch out normal pottery time: Dawson takes the spinning used to make a plate, in the privacy of the workshop, and puts it on public view as the final stage in its decoration. And, of course, all this is just illusion: His plates are almost certainly cast, not thrown, and the only spinning that went on in their decoration is virtual, inside Dawsonʼs computer. Heʼs representing ceramic traditions, not repeating them.

     

    Blake Gopnik

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    Spin

    Spin, turn, revolution, throw, rotate, orbit, jigger, jolley, around and around.

    And around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around.

    Spin, wheel, whirl, twirl, gyrate, circle, cycle, Campbell, twist, swivel, pirouette, pivot, thirty-three and a third, PhD, ‘til the moon went down.

    Ann Ominous

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