I am very proud to announce that the gallery, in collaboration with ColorNet Press, has been awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Printing Industries of America for our artist’s monograph, Sensual Mechanical: The Art of Craig Kauffman. The Premier Print Awards are held yearly to recognize the highest quality printed pieces in over 100 categories from around the world. As our plaque notes, “The Premier Print Award goes to those firms who demonstrate a unique ability to create visual masterpieces. Chosen from thousands of entries, each represents the unique partnership between designer and printer, need and creativity, technology and craft.”
I’m glad the award emphasizes collaborative relationships because it’s so important to me to recognize the gallery’s partners in this project – it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s hard work. For the design of the book, I will always be grateful for the vision of the late Joe Molloy, of Mondo Typo, and his wife, Amita Molloy, who worked as our production manager. Additional design assistance was provided by Jim Drobka, with typography done by Diane Franco. Finally, I have to thank Nick Nejad of ColorNet Press, for his dedicated attention and expertise. I’m proud to share this award with him.
I’m happy to announce that Larry Bell will be the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at White Cube in London. On view from October 16th through December 22nd, the show is timed to coincide with the Frieze London Art Fair. Bell will be presenting recent works in the North Galleries, as well as in the central 9 x 9 x 9 meter exhibition space that the gallery is known for. This show will increase Bell’s already considerable presence in London – he currently has two cubes and a very early box on display in the Minimalism Gallery at the Tate Modern. A photograph from 1972 can also be seen in the Prints and Drawings Study at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Another gallery artist, Wouter Dam, has been included in the group show In Dialogue with the Baroque at Schloss Schleissheim, near Munich, Germany. This exhibition presents contemporary artists in the context of the baroquely decorated Schleissheim Castle. The sinuous, curving lines of Dam’s ceramic sculptures recall the formal principles of baroque ornamentation, making his work a natural fit. In Dialogue with the Baroque opened on September 1st, and will be on display through October 13th.
Meanwhile, Gustavo Pérez’s international reputation continues to grow – he was included in Erskine, Hall & Coe’s Summer Show in London, and was featured in their earlier spring show, Classic and Contemporary. Pérez’s work will also be on display at the Galerie Capazza in Nançay, France, from October 5th – December 5th, 2013. This solo exhibition will include new works by the artist, who continues to pursue inventive methods of engaging with clay.
Scottish artist Jennifer Lee will open a self-titled solo show at Erskine, Hall & Coe on October 9th, which runs through November 1st. She was previously included in a group show alongside Pérez earlier this year titled Classic and Contemporary, also at Erskine, Hall & Coe. Lee’s work continues to evolve, her elegant vessels combining the geological power of nature with the beauty of human artifact.
Akio Takamori has had a busy summer, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the fall season. Takamori recently opened a solo exhibition titled Portraits Ordinaires at the Musée Ariana in Geneva, Switzerland, which will remain up until October 27th. He will also be included in Body and Soul: New International Ceramics, a group show at the Museum of Arts and Design, on view September 24th, 2013 – March 2nd, 2014.
Scot Heywood will be the the subject of two complementary solo shows, both opening in October. The first of these, titled Scot Heywood: A Survey of Large Paintings, 2006-2013, will open at Santa Monica College’s Barrett Gallery on October 22nd. It will remain on display through December 7th. His second show this fall, organized in concert with the first, is called Scot Heywood: A Survey of Small Paintings, and it will be on view here at the Frank Lloyd Gallery from October 26th – November 30th.
Among the most gratifying moments of owning a gallery are the times when our artists’ work is placed in great museums. Especially when the piece was acquired from an important exhibit at the gallery, and preserved in a carefully selected collection—before being promised to a major museum. This is the best of all possible paths: preservation of the legacy of the artist.
I’ve written before about Peter Voulkos in museums. This week, at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, his work will be exhibited in the company of the 20th century’s greatest: Pablo Picasso, Willem DeKooning, and Alberto Giacometti, among many others. Those who have questioned the placement of Voulkos in the history of sculpture must take note, as this is yet another example of the recognition and power of Voulkos by a major collection. Fortunately for future generations, the work, Alhambra, is a promised gift from one of the gallery’s best collectors, and was enthusiastically accepted by the Director of the Nasher.
Titled Return to Earth: Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943-1963, the exhibit is described on the Nasher website as “the first exhibition to explore the phenomenal increase in interest ceramics received from artists of the avant-garde during this period.”1 It promises to be an expansive look into how these artists, who were not primarily known for their work in ceramics, paved the way for future generations of ceramic sculptors. Within the exhibition, Voulkos’s powerful ceramic piece is rightly positioned as a “radical [example] of the expressive potential of fired clay.”2
Return to Earth opens at the Nasher Sculpture Center on Saturday, September 21st, 2013, and will remain on view through January 14th, 2014.
1 Return to Earth: Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943-1963, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, 2013, http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/Exhibitions/Return-to-Earth
The artists in our current show, Translucence, were all active in the 1960s. Their work is linked by their shared interest in transparency, light, reflection and the awareness of visual perception. Although they are frequently united under the label of Light and Space, and strongly associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s, it’s important to note how these artists’ work has evolved.
Our current show presents historical and contemporary examples of artwork. For instance, Larry Bell’s well-known form, the glass cube, is presented alongside work from his most recent series, the “Light Knots.” Working in diverse materials, Bell achieves complex visual effects through his use of thin film deposition – resulting in objects that absorb, transmit, and reflect light, thus calling into question the nature of the physical and visual spaces they inhabit.
Sensuous color characterizes Craig Kauffman’s practice, and plastic allowed him to expand on and enhance this sensibility. Suspended from the ceiling, Kauffman’s Untitled Loop from 1969 radiates luminous color, casting reflections on the surrounding walls. His more recent wall reliefs pulse with layers of iridescent paint, applied in thin layers to achieve a glowing, atmospheric quality.
Helen Pashgian’s work, like that of many of her contemporaries, used the new possibilities offered by industrial mediums to manipulate and explore visual and physical phenomena. Her practice constitutes an ongoing investigation into the interaction between light, color, and three-dimensional form. Like her historical spheres, Pashgian’s recent pieces explore the perceptual relationship between color and structure, blurring the borders between these principles. As the viewer moves around her work, colors and shapes advance and recede within each piece, creating an effect of instability.
As we start to install our next exhibition, titled Translucence, at the gallery, I am struck by its parallels with the Beyond Brancusi show currently on view at the Norton Simon Museum. I visited the NSM’s show in July, and really enjoyed its perspective on the influence of Constantin Brancusi on the following generations of 20th century sculptors.
I particularly remember the third room of the exhibit, which featured “a grouping of works by Southern California artists who introduced experimental materials and expanded the relationship between sculptural object and space even further.”1 This space features four of the five artists included in the gallery’s Translucence exhibition: Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian, and DeWain Valentine. A large cube by Larry Bell (our fifth artist) rests just beyond the doorway.
The works on display at the NSM, like those that will soon be up at the gallery, explore the qualities of light, color, reflection, and translucency. They play with our perception of sculptural space, complicating the subject/object relationship as they dissolve into the surrounding environment. Spatial relationships and perceptual phenomena are the primary focus of these works, and of Translucence as a show.
1 Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture, Press Release, The Norton Simon Museum, January 2013, http://www.nortonsimon.org/assets/Uploads/Beyond-Brancusi-Press-Release.pdf
It has been a busy summer for our gallery artists, and their momentum looks like it will continue into the fall! For example, Richard Shaw has three works featured in the Laguna Art Museum’s ongoing exhibition, Faux Real. On display through September 29th, Faux Real presents a selection of artworks that mimic and manipulate reality. Shaw’s porcelain sculptures are a natural fit for the show – he has been producing artful and irreverent trompe l’oeil objects for decades. Shaw is also presenting a series of figural ceramic sculptures in a solo show at the Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, through August 24th. At a glance, these figures appear to be cobbled together from a variety of everyday objects, including instruments, books, branches, and cast-off shoes. However, these seemingly found objects are actually cast in porcelain.
The Orange County Museum of Art’s California-Pacific Triennial includes works by Akio Takamori. A re-working of the OCMA’s previously established California Biennial, the Triennial explores the complex cultural exchange between countries located on the Pacific Rim. Takamori, a naturalized American citizen born in Japan, is a perfect example of this phenomenon, making figurative sculptures that explore ideas of global community and his own multicultural background. His work will be on display at OCMA through November 17th.
Finally, Craig Kauffman will be included in an exhibition titled Pop Art Design at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, running October 22, 2013 through February 9, 2014. This show, organized in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Moderna Museet, will investigate the “exciting exchange of ideas between the fields of design and art” during the Pop Art movement.1 Kauffman will be represented by a beautiful plastic lozenge from 1968-69, from the collection of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
1 Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery, London: 2013, http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=14797
I’m often asked, “where can I see ceramics in Los Angeles?” One of the first places to look is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The museum has been acquiring ceramics for decades, and their collection ranges from Pre-Columbian figures to a mural by Henri Matisse, to a Peter Voulkos sculpture.
I was reminded of this by the current issue of “The Insider”, LACMA’s members’ magazine, which features the Henri Matisse ceramic mural La Gerbe, a gift of Francis L. Brody, in honor of the museum’s 25th anniversary. La Gerbe, a 1953 commissioned work, is a ceramic tile mural installed on the plaza level of the Ahmanson Building. The Matisse has its own spot, just to the left as one enters from the Plaza. It’s something that inspired Pablo Picasso to say, “Only Matisse could have made something this beautiful.” 1
In the Art of the Americas building, the large Pre-Columbian collection is on view, as well as a selection of modern and contemporary ceramics from the Decorative Arts Department on the third floor. Many works in the LACMA collection were donated by Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits, a large gift that includes work by several of the artists represented by the gallery.
My favorite piece is Peter Voulkos’ 5,000 Feet, a muscular, dark vertical work that was first exhibited at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1958. Made of stoneware clay and iron slip, it stands 45½ inches tall and is almost two feet in depth. The piece, now prominently displayed at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum’s permanent collection of “American Art Since 1950”, is a clear demonstration of the methods Voulkos used. He seemed to build these forms from the ground up, taking the wheel-thrown cylinders and shaping them into appendages on the central form. The body of the massive 5,000 Feet is built ruggedly, composed of wheel-thrown and paddled shapes, growing to its top with thinner, jagged forms. This powerful, expressive work won the Junior Art Council Sculpture Prize Award and the Purchase Award, 1959, Annual Exhibition of Los Angeles and Vicinity, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2
1 Picasso, Pablo, quoted in The Insider 3 (Summer 2013): 13.
2 Lloyd, Frank, “Vanguard Ceramics: John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos.” In Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton, 19-39. Claremont: Scripps College and Getty Publications, 2012.