Stop press: The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson honours Steve Fullmer with a major retrospective exhibition
Steve FULLMER (American, b.1946), Tabasco Canyon, 1985, glazed pit-fired stoneware. Collection of The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū: purchased in 1985. Acc. 757.
Steve Fullmer is one of New Zealand’s leading ceramicists. In Nelson, a region renowned for its ceramics, he stands out for his innovative works and passion for clay. Fullmer’s career as a ceramic artist spans over 40 years and The Suter is thrilled to present a retrospective of his practice.
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An artist in every sense of the word, Steve Fullmer believes in creating pieces of strong character, he has become a master of unexpected associations. American born living in Tasman, his environment generates an abundance of ideas.
A winner of many national ceramic awards, his domestic ware carries the unmistakable Fullmer stamp of ghostly faces, hints of the mysteries of outer space, and the weird and whimsical.
He prefers unglazed surfaces, the coarseness absorbing the lights, reflecting only the tactile quality of the original clay. Once he might have wiped a drip, corrected a slip, but now he allows it to stay. “It’s a mistake and someone had to do it. In fifty years it will be the mark of something made by hand.”
Steve Fullmer was born in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. in 1946 and raised in Southern California near Los Angeles. It was here that his taste for arts and crafts was developed, first in the field of musical instruments making National Steel Guitars where quality was very important, and later discovering clay.
Steve first arrived in New Zealand in 1973 and began production-throwing work in Auckland. Two years later he travelled around Australia and for a while worked as a production thrower for Courtland Pottery in Perth. Now settled near Nelson in New Zealand, he has established a pottery and gallery and fires his work in large wood-fired kilns.