Porcelain vessels teem with surface texture and pattern. Known for his atmospheric wood firing from his anagama kiln, the artist also fires with train and soda kilns. DuPont's work involves various ways of firing, which reveal subtle and inexplicable tones, surfaces, and effects.
"I cannot control, nor do I want to control, all the variables while firing" (Robin DuPont, June 9 talk at the Willock & Sax Gallery).
Context is a contributing factor in ceramic practice, DuPont explores how the circumstance of his practice - the clay, the wood, the kiln, the time of year, the weather, the colleagues who help fire – affect the pots that emerge from the kiln. He is motivated by how the specific context of particular firings produces distinctive results: ash deposits, flashings, natural glaze surfaces, the tones and textures characteristic of wood fired vessels.
"Robin DuPont's pots exude the essence of aesthetic conviction, skillful discernment, clarity of strong form and a master's control of the flame path. He captures the atmosphere and turmoil of a wood or soda kiln to create a brushed magic on the surfaces of his pots; pots that embrace their inherent purpose to enhance daily life, authentic in their role to serve and undeniable in their sensuous beauty." Katrina Chaytor, Ceramics Faculty, Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary, Alberta.
Admired for his surfaces, studio potter and teacher Robin DuPont makes fine art ceramic pieces as well as a wide variety of handmade functional pottery. He specializes in atmospheric wood firing techniques that utilize wood as the sole source of fuel to fire his kiln to extremely hot temperatures, often without glaze, to leave a rich, earthy one-of-a-kind surface on each piece. He frequently fires his kiln over a number of days such as a five (5) day firing of his anagama kiln, resulting in the natural ash glazing literally pouring over the surfaces of the vessels. His investigations into development of color in relation to rates of cooling have allowed him to produce seductively sensuous soda fired porcelain objects.
Robin has studied ceramics extensively throughout his career, including four institutions in three countries. He is a MFA graduate student at Utah State University and received his BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, AB. He was a resident (2010) as well as faculty (2016) at Medalta’s residency program (a national historic site relating to the ceramic history in Medicine Hat, Alberta) as well as the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. DuPont built and fired many wood kilns, including his own Anagama Kiln (2014), which produce the subtle effects of an extreme atmosphere that only wood firing affords.
Robin was short-listed for the 2013 RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award, Gardiner Museum, Toronto. He was the 2011-2012 Rawlinson Visiting Artist at the Alberta College of Art & Design (2011-2) and visiting faculty with the School of Art at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB for the 2012-3 academic year. Robin taught at the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson, BC and was co-faculty, with Dan Murphy (Utah State), for The Banff Centre’s residency WOOD/SODA/FIRE/BANFF (2015) and KILN RAISING (2016).
HANDBUILDING - One of the three means of creating vessels, the others being wheel throwing and moulding. Pots can be hand built by coiling thin 'ropes' of clay or by shaping lumps of clay between thumb and finger. This method is the earliest, used in Neolithic cultures and is still used by studio potters (De Waal, Edmund. The Pot Book. Phaidon, 2015).