Rick Rudd Teapot

Rick Rudd is by self definition a potter and in the 30 years he has been domiciled in New Zealand he has earned himself a significant place within ceramic art achievement in New Zealand. In retrospect, it can be seen he - along with John Parker and a few others - marked the entry into the functional ceramic scene in New Zealand of art school-trained studio potters, who put form before function. During his first decade in New Zealand Rick settled in the Auckland area and his design and hand building skills quickly impressed, with his work winning and/or being selected for successive Fletcher Challenge Awards and taking a leading role within the Auckland potters' community.


In the mid 1980s he moved to Wanganui -  brining with him his pending role as president of the New Zealand Society of Potters, and quickly becoming a constructive and central figure in the ceramic and general art community for this region. Since his arrival in Wanganui the Sarjeant Gallery has shown Rick's work on a number of occasions and has, with the artist's generous support, built a useful and representative collection of his work. It is therefore most appropriate that the city celebrate his achievement, which now spans some three decades. True to Form is a survey of those decades tightly selected to effectively explore the key stepping stones, the shifts in process, and the extraordinary highlights that illuminate his path to date. The curatorial format and selection of works have been jointly worked on by both the artist and I, with Rick taking the leading role in sifting through his records of the hundreds of pieces made and securing loans of selected works. The decision to gather the work into five formal groupings of Box, Bottle, Bowl, Vessel and Figurative enabled us to provide a conceptual structure for the chronological ebb and flow to weave through. With the exception of 'the figurative' each of the three terms relate directly to the use of clay as a construction material for functional purposes and this conceptual underpinning remains central to Rick's work irrespective of style and process. Paul Rayner provides an exploration of both the conceptual issues of illusory function and Rick's evolutionary process with form in his rich and eloquent essay, "This is not a bowl." For more than five years in Wanganui, Paul had the opportunity to observe first-hand the development of Rick's work and we appreciate that he has been able to make time in his current role as art interpreter for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to contribute this informative reading of Rick's work.


Bill Milbank
Director, Sarjeant Gallery