Rosa & Winton Eugene
Eugene Tribute Jug (Miss Mildred), 2021
11 x 7 in
Winton and Rosa Eugene are self-taught potters who have been creating award winning stoneware pottery together in South Carolina for over thirty-four years. Born and raised in Louisiana and South Carolina respectively, the couple made a second career in pottery making. Rosa is a retired nurse and Winton retired from a carpet installation business. He also served as an army paratrooper during the Vietnam War. Winton first learned to turn pots on a traditional kick wheel after being encouraged to do so by Rosa and their daughter Fredriana. A decade later, Rosa began coiling and glazing in collaboration with Winton. Today Winton creates pottery using an electric wheel and does most of the decorative work, while Rosa specializes in customizing and applying glazes and her repertoire includes a diverse range of types and colors. Rosa also produces large pieces of pottery including large bowls, vases, and decorative forms using the coiled method. Most of the Eugenes' pottery incorporates detailed decorative work including painted scenes and carved relief work. These decorative elements involve images from nature and the surrounding environment. As Winton says, “In two hundred years, I want these things about my daily life to stand out, so others will know this is where I worked and lived.” Their experiences growing up in Louisiana and South Carolina, along with many years living in Chicago, inform much of their work. The couple received honorary doctoral degrees in Fine Art from the University of South Carolina. Their work has been exhibited in museums across the globe including China, Germany, and throughout the South. Their rare and highly collectible Tribute Jugs are a part of the ground breaking traveling exhibit The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and curated by Valerie Cassel . The art exhibit proposes that the culture of the African American South, as defined by music and vernacular art, is the bedrock of American culture itself, with a strong influence on new art today. Represented by Neema Fine Art Gallery, their Tribute Jugs are inspired by face jugs created by David Drake, also known as "Dave Pottery" and "Dave the Potter," who was an American potter and enslaved African American who lived in Edgefield, South Carolina 1820s and the 1870s. The Eugenes decided to create jugs that would resemble and subsequently honor family members and close friends who had passed on from each of their childhood memories.