Bernard Leach, “the father of British studio pottery,” was the reason that the Cologne-born artist Kai Althoff, as a child, dreamt of being a potter. Instead, Althoff fell into drawing, painting, and “making things.” But Leach’s influence remains. Icons, dolls, idols, and relics that represent the dead and the absent have become central to Althoff’s artistic language. He is deeply interested in the intricacies of faith, folklore, and spirituality, and often merges Eastern and Western influences, as did his Hong Kong-born inspiration. As Althoff often says, he wants “his painting to function ideally like one of Bernard Leach’s pots.” —E.C.
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