Small Works from the Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics

Exhibition Dates: January 12 – April 7, 2019
Opening Reception: January 12th 6-9pm
Curator: T Robert-Pacini

During the mid 1950s the ceramics department at Otis Art Institute (then Los Angeles County Art Institute) was a place of artistic vitality and innovative energy. At Otis, Peter Voulkos led a “revolution in clay” by questioning the tradition that ceramic forms must be utilitarian and by creating instead nonfunctional, sculptural works that gave the medium a new freedom of expression. Voulkos and other notable artists maintained the momentum of this philosophy in Northern California at U.C. Berkeley.

The Scripps collection is also remarkable in that it came to the college through one donor, Fred Marer, who was not a man of wealth but a teacher of modest means. Fred Marer was a mathematics professor at Los Angeles City College, and never had substantial resources, but amassed his collection slowly through actual contact with the artists themselves. Because his budget was limited, he most often bought works directly from the artists. Fred began collecting in the early 1940s, first acquiring a piece by one of the leading ceramists in Southern California, Laura Andreson. This purchase piqued his interest in clay and encouraged him to investigate further.

It was due to the influence of renowned ceramist Paul Soldner, who came to Scripps after graduating from Otis and built the Scripps ceramic program into a major center of study. Soldner’s leadership of the Scripps program along with the Scripps Ceramic Annual (celebrating its 75th ceramic annual exhibition in January, 2018), were the prime reasons Marer decided to make this generous gift to the college.

This exhibition of more than fifty objects, will include works from the Otis group as well as highlighting many others, including, Laura Andreson, Robert Arneson, Hans Coper, Phil Cornelius, Jun Kaneko, and Jim Melchert.

Image: Jun Kaneko, Plate, 1971, raku