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Harrison McIntosh: A Timeless Legacy

Harrison McIntosh: A Timeless Legacy

AMOCA presents this retrospective exhibition to honor the life and ceramic artwork of Harrison McIntosh, one of the best-known ceramic artists of the Pomona Valley and leader in the post-World War II Southern California crafts movement. Along with the history, culture, and lifestyle of this era, the exhibition features Harrison’s beautifully crafted ceramic pottery and sculpture, recognized for its precision, perfect proportions, repetitive lines, and subtle, decorative graphic elements.

McIntosh’s introduction to ceramics included study with Glen Lukens, Marguerite Wildenhain, and Richard Petterson. These educators touted the fine art of craft, with emphasis on technique, design, and mastery of glazing skills. Marguerite Wildenhain, trained at the Bauhaus, insisted on strict methodological performance from her students, and Richard Petterson (Scripps College), intrigued by the Mingei folk art movement of Japan, introduced McIntosh to the traditions and aesthetic views of the East.

Armed with these principles, McIntosh, along with fellow potter Rupert Deese, established a studio in nearby Claremont. While some ceramic artists of that time went on to follow the more extreme choice of abstract-expressionist ceramic art, McIntosh chose to pursue vessel-oriented forms, concentrating on craftsmanship and fine design. McIntosh stayed true to his personal vision, grounded in the vessel format with an unpretentious approach that can only happen when the potter is so familiar with the practice, so adept at the process, and so in tune with automatic actions that a higher form of intuitive response takes over. There is no need for force or control because the body knows the way. Simply put, McIntosh’s mode of spontaneity is the antithesis of artifice.

This exhibition is accompanied by a 100-page, full-color, hard-bound catalog highlighting his life and works, replete with essays by Christy Johnson, AMOCA Director, Martha Longenecker, Founder of the Mingei International Museum, and Marguerite McIntosh, Founder of the Claremont Museum of Art.