In Memory of Victor Spinski – via NCECA

The following is copied from the NCECA Newsletter:

It is with immeasurable sadness that we report the passing of
Victor Spinski on Monday, January 21, 2013. At the 2013 NCECA Conference
in Houston, Victor was to be made an Honorary Member of the Council.
This award will now be presented posthumously and an observance in
memory of Victor will be planned.

Victor Spinski’s work communicated through its mastery of
material and keenness of mind. His storytelling and early performances
have become part of NCECA’s folklore and also represent important
threads in the tapestry of contemporary ceramics. Victor held a patent
on the Ceramic Photo Emulsion process and distinguished himself as one
of the foremost artists working in the vein of trompe l’oeil ceramics.
Victor’s mastery of the ceramic material enabled him to render objects
with so high a level of verisimilitude as to make us question our
powers of perception. In this manner he played a pivotal role shaping
the course of contemporary clay sculpture in adapting the trompe l’oeil
style to the ceramic medium.

The subject of NCECA’s Spirit of Ceramics video: Victor Spinski: A True American Master of Fun(k),
Victor retired seven years ago from his 38-year tenure as a Professor
of Ceramics at the University of Delaware. Victor’s acute wit was often
animated through the juxtaposition of contradictory elements and
fabrication that was so highly skilled as to confound our powers of
perception. Hammers and nails made of fragile fired clay would shatter
if employed with their intended function are examples of his
mischievous approach to his use of ceramics as a material.

Victor’s creative achievement is both a tribute to and
celebration of the value of an honest day’s work. His sculptures
sometimes manifested this obsession with labor by endowing the forms of
old and used tools with earthy stoicism and otherworldly beauty.
Victor practiced his art in the tradition of the trickster, and jester,
using humor to reveal the essential and sometimes uncomfortable truths
that make us human.

Our hearts go out to his wife, Sally Van Orden and his son,
Tristan Spinski in this great moment of loss and to all those that had
the opportunity to know him. Victor will be missed by so many. His life
was a legacy that will continue to inspire and inform generations to

Patsy Cox