Totemic Vessels

As much as Travanti is interested in works on paper and canvas, he is also a devoted maker of some of the most free-spirited, well-crafted ceramic work being done today.  Of course, ceramics in and of itself is a form we can never disassociate from its making, from a persistent mental picture of the hands that clasp the wet clay, mold it, guide it, and apply the glazes – from the thought of our own hands holding the object in a way we can’t with a painting and shouldn’t with sculpture.  Not surprisingly, Travanti’s ceramic work is anything but sedate or dispassionate.  His “Totemic Vessels” are vertical composites of radically different shapes and colors.  The “Lip” bowls and earthenware “Hole” containers lead us to dwell less on the exterior or interior of the object and more on the portal to that inner space, our means of access, while the intricate “Sleeve” even more explicitly suggests a bent arm and its material covering.  The adjective that describes the “Lush” series could apply to all Travanti’s work in this medium: shapes that surprise, rich color that drips and soaks, a celebration of a fertile, healthy disorder.      -- John Loughery, 2010, catalog for Entanglement at Kenosha Public Museum