Harrison West Residents Fire Up the Springfield Museum of Art

by Dara Schwartz

“Collecting is more than just buying art. There is a discipline and science to it,” say Harrison West residents Patrick Doust and Richard North. Doust and North have been applying the science of collecting art for more than 35 years.

“As you become more educated with art and familiarize yourself with many artists’ work and style, you will be able to see how one artist may have been influenced by another artist’s work and recognize what makes it exceptional,” said North.

After early retirement, North and Doust narrowed their focus to ceramic art. They have collected nearly 250 contemporary ceramic pieces from art fairs, art collector tours and gallery visits across the United States and Canada. One hundred of their pieces will be on exhibit in the Springfield Museum of Art’s “Collective Minds: Contemporary Ceramic Collection of Richard North and Patrick Doust” through November 13, 2011.

“We live with our art. We are actually going through withdrawal with our pieces being gone,” commented North.

North and Doust have discovered many of the pieces they own at the Sherrie Gallerie in the Short North. Sherrie Hawk, the gallery’s owner, was instrumental in guiding them through the world of collecting. Sherrie Gallerie often hosts solo shows, which allow North and Doust to view multiple works by one artist in a single exhibit space and to find (and perhaps bring home), their favorite piece.

Every collector has a strategy, and North and Doust are no different. They recommend purchasing multiple works by a single artist, especially works spanning his or her career. Janis Mars Wunderlich is one of the local artists they follow, and over the years, they have watched her work become more complex. Her work has graduated from representations of raising children to representations of being a wife and artist. For North and Doust, Wunderlich’s pieces are a fascinating narrative of the artist’s life.

“We have a small library of books on ceramics, and we belong to ceramic organizations. We support ceramic centers and museums, and we even belong to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto. Now our vacations revolve around ceramic shows.”

The Springfield Museum of Art is located at 107 Cliff Park Road, Springfield, Ohio 45501. For more information, please call 937-325-4673, or visit www.springfieldart.museum/.

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