Gambling Man:
A Conversation with Adam Silverman

December 2, 2020

By Kay Whitney

 

Adam Silverman’s work is a monument to risk. Once a producer of functional pottery, he now works at the edge of feasibility where principles of ceramic fabrication are concerned. Potentially ruinous firing techniques, uncontrollable glazing methods, and almost unsustainable forms all expose his work to the possibility of self-destruction. Silverman has referred to his experimental methods as a kind of gambling; every piece he makes is subject to peculiar accretions, various wet or dry techniques involving unconventional throwing and firing, and risky post-firing surface treatments.

A stranger to neither risk nor success, Silverman went through professional phases as an architect and clothing designer before fully committing himself to ceramics in 2002. His design background and passionate regard for the major figures of mid-century design have strongly inflected his work, but he has clearly evolved away from the refined aesthetic that was once important to him. His training as an architect becomes evident in his obsessive focus on the spaces occupied by his objects—siting and presentation are essential to how he creates and defines his work.

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