Adam Rish has been making ceramics in collaboration with Lino Alvarez in Hill End, 4 hours West of Sydney, since 2004. Lino Alvarez is a master potter from the Sonora (Mimbres) region of Mexico. He has had many exhibitions of his own work (including being represented in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). He established La Paloma Pottery in 1981 and moved it to Hill End in 2002. He has been collaborating with other artists at La Paloma, since 2003.
In TV Man an armless figure with a television face hops around on a long curling tail. After Giotto shows a large caterpillar chasing a car around an endless road. In Happy Family a naked couple run with an animal that has eaten their possessions. KFC Man has turned into a chicken surrounded by bone televisions.
Cartouche is a large terracotta work embossed with hundreds of images of cars, TVs, fish, plants and dollar signs. Drunken Bottle is an off-centre bottle encrusted with ears, eyes, plants and domestic objects.
Metamorphoses is a tapa wallpapered with walking fish, walking roads, walking cars, walking planes, walking phones, while N'ukulele has a headless figure in a tropical shirt and atomic suit, strumming up flying B52's (in place of ducks) from a tapa ukulele. Ornithogonia has transformed birds carrying exotic plants, missiles and even George Bush (a Bush in the bird).
Rish’s work is dystopic – he represents a world in confusion – but moderated by a comic humanism. The pieces are like souvenirs of front-page violence tamed into soft, hybrid, folk art forms.
Adam Rish's imagery has many affinities with Mimbres design. He has thus readily adapted these to the new ceramics. Drawing on his experience as a sculptor, he has combined repeated embossed and stamped elements onto the clay pots using rubber stamps and clay cast in plaster moulds. The pieces are then finished with a mix of glazed and unglazed surfaces, wax and gold.
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