Brother Thomas Bezanson, an internationally known potter, died on August 16, at his home at the age of 78.
Brother Thomas was a ceramic artist, a master of complex glazes and purity of line in his forms who said, “I struggle to express my intuition of the beautiful. I want my work to be as much a spiritual experience for others as it is for me.”
Brother Thomas, born Charles Bezanson in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on August 5, 1929, graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Design in 1950 and received a degree in commerce from St Mary’s University, Halifax. He had, at that time, also begun his work in ceramic art.
In 1959, he became a monk of Weston Priory Vermont, a community of Benedictine men. He continued both his art and his formal education while in Weston. Brother Thomas received a PhD in philosophy and the University Gold Medal from Ottawa University, Ontario, in 1968.
Brother Thomas said that Weston was a gift to him and to his art in that he learned from his brother monks, “The first extension of love and freedom is creativity, and without them there is no possibility for art to exist in this world.”
Over the past 35 years, Brother Thomas’s work has been exhibited in more than 40 solo exhibitions. His pots are held in more than 60 public collections in such museums as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Art, Boston. Internationally, museum collections in Japan, Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Israel and the Vatican also include examples of his work.
Brother Thomas was the author of numerous articles, monographs, books and lectures on art and its spiritual aspects. Among ceramic artists, he was “probably one of the most important of his generation,” said Bernard Pucker, director of Pucker Gallery. He also said that Brother Thomas was “one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known. He trusted people and that trust enabled them to be the best they could be. He was a unique combination of creative artist and a man of the spirit.”
Brother Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Alonso and Jessica Revels Bezanson, his sisters Marjorie Webb, Clare Vaughan, Mary O’Toole and Marianne Hartley and by his brother, Reginald. He is survived by his sisters Ellen MacFarlane, Sharon Harland, Jacqueline MacLeod and several nieces and nephews.
A remembrance service is being planned during the time of his next exhibition, which will open to the public on October 13, at Pucker Gallery 171 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass. For more information, 617-267-9473.
Contributions, which will be used to support artists in need, may be sent to The Brother Thomas Fund at The Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington Street, Boston MA 02116.