Artist: Gerry Eskin
Gerald (Gerry) Eskin, 1934-2011
View work by the artist: Gerry Eskin
View work from: Sandy and Gerry Eskin's collection
Gerry Eskin's Artist Statement:
In Dr. Gerry Eskin’s world, big is best. His work explores themes of monumental scale. His photographic panoramas depict spectacular geological formations and desert landscape vistas near Moab, Utah. His massive anthropomorphic vessels are informed by Middle Eastern sarcophagi. Together the ceramic pieces and photographs create an environmental installation evoking sacred mountain landscapes and their relation to burial rituals and the traditional spiritual function of ceramic forms.
Eskin constructed the ceramic vessels from slabs and coils; each is made from several hundred pounds of clay. In a very loose and gestural manner, Eskin ran his fingers and other tools over the wet clay to produce the textured surface. After drying for several months, the pieces were fired in either his eight-foot tall gas kiln or his anagama wood kiln.
Eskin shot the photographs during a week-long trip to the Moab desert in Utah in 2007. He worked to capture the texture and detail of the landscape. Using a tripod and panoramic head he took a series of shots that he later stitched together on the computer.
Prior to pursuing his artistic career full-time, Eskin taught marketing and marketing research at Stanford University and the University of Iowa. He was also co-founder and director of Information Resources, Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of marketing information and software. Upon retiring in 1995 he immersed himself fulltime in his long-standing passions: ceramics and photography.
Eskin was an avid collector of both contemporary and prehistoric ceramic pottery from around the world. He was an adjunct professor of studio art and art history at the University of Iowa. He served as a chairman of the advisory board of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts, as a board member of the Museum of Arts and Design and the University of Iowa Art Museum Advisory Board. He maintained studios in Iowa City, Iowa and Aspen, Colorado.
Dr. Gerald Eskin was a studio potter and photographer who maintained studios in Iowa City, Iowa, and Aspen, Colorado. As a ceramicist, he created both functional pottery and sculptural forms. In recent years, he also was engaged in experimental work in digital imaging, returning to photography after a long period of inactivity. Much of his photographic work focused on large-scale panoramic images of expansive landscapes that explore issues of spatial experience and scale.
Eskin was an adjunct professor of studio art and art history at the University of Iowa. His work is included in a number of major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum), Longhouse Reserve, the Mint Museum and the University of Iowa Museum of Art. He also served as chairman of the advisory board of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts, a board member of the American Craft Museum and a member of the advisory board of the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Prior to pursuing his artistic career full-time, Eskin taught marketing and marketing research at Stanford University and the University of Iowa. He received his doctorate in economics at the University of Minnesota. He is a founder and was director of Information Resources, Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of marketing information and related software.
SOFA - Sculptural Objects Functional Art, Chicago, Navy Pier, Special Exhibition. November 2010.
SCALE: Ceramic Forms and Photographic Landscapes, Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa. Scales, June- August, 2010.
Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, CO Sept. - Oct. 2006
Arbor Gallery, Iowa City, IA, Sept. 2004.
Gerry Eskin, Recent Ceramics, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA, May - June 2002.
American Craft Museum, New York, NY.
Red Star Studios, Kansas City, MO, June 2 - July 1, 2000
Gerry Eskin's works are included in the following collections: The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum), Racine Art Museum, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Figge Museum of Art, Kirkwood Community College, Longhouse Reserve and the Mint Museum.
From: The Chicago Tribune,
Gerald Eskin, 1934-2011
By Margaret Ramirez and Tribune reporter
Jul 03, 2011 at 12:00 am
"As one of the founders of Chicago-based Information Resources Inc., Gerald Eskin was a trailblazer in the market research industry.
In 1980, Mr. Eskin's firm launched BehaviorScan, a ground-breaking service that used bar codes and supermarket scanners to measure the impact of ads on sales. By 1990, Mr. Eskin had been awarded three U.S. patents for cutting-edge technology, and IRI was one of the world's leading market research firms.
After he retired from IRI in 1995, Mr. Eskin turned to his passion for ceramics.
He started throwing plates and cups, then moved to large platters, and later created towering structures and massive, haunting sarcophagus-type vessels.
"His real strength was in sculpture," said close friend Charles Hindes, professor emeritus of ceramics at the University of Iowa. "His work had historical reference to burial containers. So Gerry's work was very personal and very distinct."
He returned to the University of Iowa and began taking classes with Hindes. Later, he became an adjunct professor of studio art and art history.
In the artist's statement on his website, Mr. Eskin wrote that he worked on different sculptural forms with historical references, including one called "spirit houses." He said the boxes were inspired by ossuaries, boxes for the reburial of human bones, which date from the ancient Chalcolithic period in the Middle East.
"I also do a form I call a Shamen Urn and a large sarcophagus type form which I simply label a Vessel," Mr. Eskin wrote.
As an artist, Mr. Eskin also worked in digital photography, creating vast panoramic landscape prints that depicted spectacular geological formations and desert vistas.
In summer 2010, the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, held an exhibit of Mr. Eskin's monumental sculptures, titled "Scale."
In the "Scale" catalog, friend and renowned ceramicist Jun Kaneko, wrote: "In all the things that Gerry Eskin creates, there is a basic sense of humanity."
In November 2010, Mr. Eskin's work was exhibited at SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier.
"It's amazing to me how he was able to focus on marketing, ceramics, digital photography, all those different aspects and be so great at all of them," said his son Joshua.
Mr. Eskin conceived, designed and developed the ceramics collection for the University of Iowa Art Museum. He also served as chairman of the advisory board of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts.
His work is held in major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mr. Eskin is survived by his wife, Sandie "Zoe" Eskin; his younger brother, Howard Eskin; another son, Benjamin; a daughter, Leah; and seven grandchildren.
The family plans memorial services in Iowa City and Aspen this year."