by Rudy Autio
Rudy Autio's long career in ceramics is international in scope. Born in Butte, Montana, Autio was educated at Montana State University and received an M.A. from Washington State University. He was a founding resident of the Archie Bray Foundation, along with his wife, Lela, and good friend Peter Voulkos. For twenty-eight years he headed the ceramics area of the University of Montana's art department and is now professor emeritus there.
Over the years recognition and awards have accumulated - in 1963 he received a Tiffany Award in Crafts, in 1978 the American Ceramic Society Award, in 1980 a National Endowment grant to work and teach at the Arabia Porcelain Factory in Finland and the University of Helsinki, in 1981 the first Governor's Art Award in the State of Montana. The list goes on.
Autio sees himself as a Montana artist and the national and international impact of the Archie Bray Foundation as part of a strong Montana tradition in the ceramic field. His own work, which grew at the Bray Foundation, is influenced by many different trends and artists beyond Montana and the ceramic medium. Looking at some of the large vessels he produces today, these influences which Autio himself has named, are discernible: Picasso, Moore, Marini, Tamayo, Noguchi, Rivera.
The images on his vessels are similar to those found in his Portfolio print, "Summer Solstice." Their "character" according to Autio is different only because of the surface of the printing plate. For Autio the female forms and horses are old friends, "convenient" images, that he employs again and again in paintings, prints and vessels. They are also part of his Montana roots. These, along with the gesture and action of Abstract Expressionism and the influence of the masters he reveres, Autio uses to create art for what has become an international audience. His charming humility belies the prestige he has brought to his home state and the fact that he is a recognized, world-class master of ceramic art.
--From the Rattlesnake Valley Press Centennial Issue, 1989, Margaret Mudd