Installation view of the present lot at Design Miami, December 2016.

IAN MCDONALD's work stems from a constant organizing and arranging of a vocabulary of forms and materials. His architectural ceramic vessels are made in parts, measured, cut, rejected then saved, and assembled at the potter’s wheel to achieve their final form.

McDonald (b.1975) currently holds the position of Artist-in-Residence and Area Head of Ceramics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has shown throughout the U.S, Europe and Japan, including The Cranbrook Art Museum, Play Mountain and the Curators Cube in Tokyo, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco, The New Wight Gallery at UCLA in Los Angeles and Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York City. European venues include, Nieuwe Vide Gallery in Holland, Sophienholm Exhibition Hall in Copenhagen Denmark, and the Svendborg Kunstingbygning Museum in Svendborg, Denmark. In 2007 he was awarded the "Premio Faenza" from the Museo Internazionale della Ceramiche in Faenza, Italy. He has completed residencies in Holland at the European Ceramic Workcenter, the Museum of International Ceramics in Denmark and the Museum of Fine Arts at the De Young Art Center in San Francisco. His work has appeared or been mentioned in numerous publications including Art Forum, Metropolis, Wallpaper Magazine, Ceramics Monthly, Dwell and The New York Times.

Curatorial Alchemy

Our paths first crossed, unknown until many years later, at an intimate yet bustling wedding reception in a south Chicago apartment. This was probably 30 years ago, perhaps even the same year a new gallery, Torno Wright, opened at the end of my street to a fanfare of Eames, heralding new changes to come. Criss-crossing breezes of chance encounters, meandering spirits, hazy focus of time and space, of enthusiasm and knowledge sought, now united again in the same city.

That same serendipity, prompting impulse and discovery, guided welcome reward in the crucible of that great industrial city, still littered with the artefacts of the American mid-century. It was within this uneven yet fertile terrain, hidden slightly below surface, that Patrick’s intuitive talent—honed first as photographer then embellished as artist—would treasure the valuable neglected as passionate collector, and then as the inspirational dealer that I was to meet again, years later in New York City.

If asked to select one word to describe Patrick, I would resist and pick two. The first would be curiosity—a fundamental essential, to stimulate inquiry and rigour in all things, both great and small, of any era or region, type or surface. Even the most fleeting survey of this selection for sale is a celebration of innovation and of inspiration—an unerring eye for the unusually exceptional, or perhaps the exceptionally unusual. The chances are, that these are indeed discoveries that you have not yet realized that you needed to make.

Mentor, would be my second word. If artefacts and objects articulate visual, cultural and historic language, then the fluency of skillful mentorship—to guide, nurture, describe and explain—releases the eloquence of murmuring histories. In this capacity Patrick is that most earnest and sincere of excellent narrators. If ever I had friends, clients or colleagues visiting New York looking for unusual inspiration, there was always the certainty that Patrick’s gallery would offer them a glimpse of the hitherto unseen or the unusually seductive, always with the reassurance of the most fascinating story waiting to be told.

Mentorship and curiosity, when balanced in equal measure, reveal the precious alchemy of a curator. And it is the duty of the mature curator to discern and detect, to cultivate change, and from there to pioneer, and to share. Innovation is never static, and the Present is already the Future. Fresh dialogs evolve, energies to be nurtured, opportunities to be guided. Renewed and re-orientated, Patrick now faces fully forward—as benefactor, interlocutor and mentor to a new, inquisitive generation of talented creators, and the quest for discovery rejuvenates.

— Simon Andrews
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