Victor immigrated to the United States with his family after WWII, first settling in Brooklyn, N.Y., and then moving to Newton, Kansas. Fluent in Russian and Polish, Victor went on to earn his bachelor's degree in Russian Literature at Emporia State University and then served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After sustaining serious injuries in combat and months of rehabilitation, Victor attended Indiana University and earned his Master of Fine Arts in ceramics. In 1968 he moved to Newark, Del. to begin his 38-year tenure as Professor of Ceramics at the University of Delaware.
Victor distinguished himself as one of the foremost ceramic artists of the 20th Century, specializing in the genre of trompe l'oeil or "fool the eye". Victor's work has been exhibited and is in permanent collections across the United States and all over the world, including The Museum of Contemporary Crafts, The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design, the American Craft Museum, and the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts.
The wit & rigor of Spinski’s trompe l’oeil work gives it a particularly compelling vitality, the artist seemingly having been able to alchemise his clay into any material or form. Often, as here with 'Schlitz Box’, there’s utilitarian purpose laid bare, and in his life Spinski referred to his practice as an inversion of the chinese Yixing philosophy where unusual materials were often used to create harmonious and resolved teapots or other ceramic work. Spinski drew objects that speak of a hurried or imaginatively chaotic lifestyle, but in focus and attention to detail (a collection of dust in the folds of the cap, a faded signature upon a baseball) compose a meditative weight.
Title: Small Pail
Artist: Viktor Spinski
The wit & rigor of Spinski’s trompe l’oeil work gives it a particularly compelling vitality, the artist seemingly having been able to alchemise his clay into any material or form. The ‘Small Pail’ is one of a series of works based on the garbage can, the careful, near-perfect reproduction of refuse and container coyly raising the poetic intonation of such an everyday environment, whilst resubmitting notions of value in art to a new and honest order. A mischievous sense of humour (coupled with that natural skill for replication) occasionally landed Spinski in trouble over his lifespan, a similar work to this once purportedly and purposely left out with the overnight trash by the artist — the sanitation worker fighting unsuccessfully to remove the sealed lid until the piece shattered in his hands. Luckily this particular piece has survived intact.
Glazed Ceramic sculpture from the Garbage Can series