Essence and Reverence: The Work of Brother Thomas Bezanson
Brother Thomas Bezanson (1929 - 2007) was a Benedictine monk and a prolific artist and acclaimed ceramicist. He merged creative impulse, soul, beauty, tradition and expert craftsmanship to create refined work saturated with wonder and elegance. By all accounts, he was an extremely gracious and compassionate human being.
Many of Brother Thomas’ ceramic forms have a spectacular allure as well as a magical quality reminiscent of birth. The colors and tones embedded in his pieces are at times supernatural, while others echo organic colors and tones of crimson, earth, stone, eggshell, the night sky and even the various subtleties of mammal organs.
Bernie Pucker, a dear friend of Brother Thomas as well as his art dealer, recently wrote: “Thomas was always seeking an inner, spiritual beauty and his individual works were a physical manifestation of that search; he was seeking the beauty of the soul.”
In a time of fast-moving information, product development, mass consumerism and throw away culture, Brother Thomas’ work reminds us to slow down, breathe and appreciate the simplicity and magnificence of handmade form, color, and imagination.
Brother Thomas wanted the sale of his work to benefit and support struggling artists. The Brother Thomas Fund was established at the Boston Foundation to honor his legacy following his death in 2007. Biennially, Brother Thomas fellows receive an unrestricted $15,000 grant. The fellowship supports a diverse range of exceptional and established artists within the Greater Boston area. To date, the fund has supported 56 fellowships totaling $840,000.
Brother Thomas was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. He began working with ceramics in 1953 after graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. In 1959 he entered a Benedictine monastery. Approximately a decade later he received his MA in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.
The work of Brother Thomas is included in over 80 collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1984, among many other honors.
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