A key figure in my own creative landscape was the great ceramicist, Beatrice Wood. Back in the days of Dada, Beatrice arrived on the art scene as a rebellious ingénue entangled in a scandalous threesome with Marcel DuChamp and Henri-Pierre Roché (as recorded in her 1985 autobiography, ‘I Shock Myself‘). Her own art career started when she was 52 years old with some clumsy, naîve, clay figures. It ended 52 years later with her death at the age of 104. I knew Beato as an eccentric friend when she was in her mid-90’s and still producing prolifically. I greatly admired her fortitude and fearless ability to engage the art world with exquisite glazes and saucy, tongue-in-cheek ceramic figures – each one would make a daring social comment or lay a relationship bare.
I took samples of her work and drew them. It became a tribute series of sixteen pieces. Dense, sensitive, larger-than-life charcoal and conté drawings of her quirky pottery, each paired with a piece of my own handmade bread. Hence the name of my ensuing show, “Bread & Beato”. Beatrice graced the opening with her vibrant presence, swathed in a bright Indian sari, her white hair piled atop her head and a fierce slash of lipstick. Most of the work sold that same night.