Uploaded by Ram Avila

Direction Found Through Misdirection

Ramiro Avila
Art V51
October 19
Direction Through Misdirection
As of yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the Don Reitz exhibit in Montecito. Don Reitz’s
work and ideas which went into his work reassured me on the perspective I had about art. Simply
put, Don had a style distinctive to his philosophy that he adapted from Peter Voulkous’s saying,
“There are no rules, only concepts”. This philosophy served in defining his body of work apart from
others and cementing him as a pioneer in the world of ceramics. Don is a true pioneer not just in art
but also in the idea of direction through misdirection.
After serving in the Navy and later working a multitude of different jobs at the age of 30 he
found new life after gaining the courage to pursue one of his earliest of passions which was evident
to him since the beginning. He had a natural talent for art after all these years he still felt like he
was missing something, a missing element that would define him and his artwork. He was not a fan
of glaze to start or the traditional style and rules on how to do things because he felt that it took
away from his unique style. As he pressed forward he eventually met Rick Leach an individual who
later showed him a style of firing that would later be the reason he gained his famous moniker “Mr.
Salt”. By reading his autobiography he began to prove to me that to be a great artist, you must first
live and experience a multitude of events both ups and downs and still move forward never
satisfied or defeated, simply being.
When I entered the exhibit after 15 minutes of trying to locate it I was surprised at the
variety of pieces that Don had constructed. At first I didn’t know where to start so I marched
straight to the back of the exhibit where some of his pieces were highlighted with the sunshine that
pierced the windows. I then worked my way back towards the entrance and back again as I
examined the sides of the exhibit while moving toward the hidden back corners. Which is where I
found myself standing there looking at one of my favorite pieces of his which is called “Spontaneous
In true fashion to myself I sought after its definition, after defining it I found that repose
translates to “a state mind, one of which is free of worry”. This was somewhat obscure to me as to
why this piece was hidden in the back corner and not the center piece of the exhibit having been
that it carried such a powerful message behind it. Then it occurred to me that the layout was
dictated in a way that was made for you to be pulled into his consciousness in a sense with his
bigger pieces, only to be contrasted with smaller pieces and hidden gems. Hidden in a way that can
correlate with his subconscious mind or even principles that he might have lived by.
In all there was a variety of other pieces that he had displayed in the exhibit but for some
reason this one piece was something that I could relate with and adhere to. After my visit, I sat to
think about it for a minute and continued to do so on my drive home. I can conclude that to him it
never was about the technique it was about the purpose behind the technique. That to me, is what
really set him apart and the idea that his work was merely a tangible vessel that carried with it his
ideas, fears and successes.