David Orth

David Orth, Nashville, TN


David Orth grew up in upstate New York and Michigan but has lived in Nashville for almost 60 years. He studied medicine, was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for more than 30 years, and is Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics.

     Art was always important in his life, but he came late to ceramics. He won a city-wide award for painting as a teenager, had a show of graphics as a medical resident at Johns Hopkins, studied sculpture with Puryear Mims and Alan LeQuire, received the Sculpture Purchase Prize at the 37th Annual Tennessee State Art Competition for a work now in the state's permanent collection, and produced two dozen bronzes, several now in private collections.

     In 2003 he turned to ceramics and recently found a way to combine his dual affinities for the rugged and refined by hand-building bowls, trays and vases from thin porcelain slabs, shaping them from what appear to be overlapping, irregular staves, and spraying them with overlapping layers of several matte glazes, imparting the organic look of a gas- or wood-fired ceramic.