Ceramist Richard Notkin is best known for his sociocritical works and his reinterpretations of Yixing teapots. Although the majority of his work created between 1983 and 1995 consists of teapots, he considers himself a sculptor with a strong commitment to social commentary, and the vessels include political imagery such as cooling towers. He also addresses political issues in larger installations such as The Gift, a mural consisting of three-inch-square earthenware tiles with bas-relief images of dice and skulls. Up close, the piece resembles a scarred Mayan wall, but when viewed from afar, the image of a mushroom cloud emerges.
Richard Notkin in his Helena, Montana, studio; portrait photo courtesy Phoebe R. Toland.