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Robert Brady (b. 1946) is a Bay Area sculptor whose career spans over 40 years. Brady began as a potter with his studio practice evolving to include clay, wood, bronze, and works on paper. Brady’s figures are spare and abstract, stripped to their essence.
“There has to be a constant revival, variation, and change in my work. I just can’t keep doing the same thing, or variations of it until it’s pushed into the ground. This comes from those life experiences I’ve had, the constant turnover, change, endings, birthings ….. My life (is the biggest) explanation for my work.”Robert Brady
Robert Brady, Figure 1 and Figure 2, 1994. Stoneware. Gift of Gail M. and Robert A. Brown
Tom Coleman (b. 1945) is a Nevada-based ceramicist working with thrown and altered forms. Coleman’s Test Site Series, reflects Las Vegas’ brightly colored downtown against a dry, cracked, textured earth of the surrounding desert in which Coleman resides. The main inspiration for this body of work comes from the history of the Nevada Test Site, used as the primary testing location of American nuclear devices. During the 1950s, the mushroom cloud from these tests could be seen for almost 100 miles in either direction, including the city of Las Vegas.
Tom Coleman, Cobalt Treatment (Test Site Series),1993. White-ware. Gift of David and Julianne Armstrong.
Harris Deller (b. 1947) is a Brooklyn-based artist who uses lines, geometric forms, minimal color, and repetition of simple shapes in his work. Deller’s work re-examines the role volume plays in pottery while challenging the viewer’s perspective of an object in space. The illusion of two-dimensions is enhanced through his mark-making. He works with a very coarse white porcelain clay body and applies a black glaze to accentuate the whiteness of the clay and the graphic quality of the sculpture.
Harris Deller, Untitled Vessel,1984. Porcelain. Gift of Enrique Serrato.
Gerit Grimm (b. 1973) is a German-born artist and Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Grimm’s artwork celebrates the rich history of ceramic folk figurines with fairy tales, myths and fables dominating her wheel thrown sculptures. The bronze-like color of the work is achieved entirely from the stoneware clay body and adds to an old world feel, inviting the viewer to reminisce about a simpler time.
Gerit Grimm, The Teapot Peddlers, 2011. Stoneware. Gift of David and Julianne Armstrong.
Chris Gustin (b. 1952) comes from a family of makers, and from a young age he shared his parents’ enthusiasm for making functional objects. Gustin is an explorer of forms, a painter with fire and glaze, and a master of his material. He takes inspiration from historical and utilitarian pottery as well as the subtleties of the human form.
“I want my work to provoke image to the viewer, to suggest something that is just on the other side of consciousness. I don’t want my pots to conjure up a singular recollection, but ones that change with each glance, with each change of light. I use surfaces that purposely encourage touch, and by inviting the hand to explore the forms as well as the eye, I hope to provoke numerous memories, recollections that have the potential to change from moment to moment.”Chris Gustin
Chris Gustin, Untitled Platter, 1979. Porcelain. Gift of The American Ceramics Society.
Elliott Kayser (b. 1985) is an Arizona-based artist who uses the cow as a symbol for America’s landscape, resources, history, and cultural beliefs. Kayser thinks American farms have been abstracted and repurposed to support product consumption – for example the “happy cow” on a milk carton. He also explores the industrialization of farming and its impact on the degradation and disassociation of our food supply.
Kayser incorporates a technique known as ‘Shigaraki’, where granules of feldspar are embedded into the clay body before creating the form. As the clay is fired in the kiln (furnace), the feldspar begins to melt and ooze through the surface of the sculpture.
Elliott Kayser, With Syrup and Vinegar, 2017. Ceramic and Feldspar chips. AMOCA Purchase, with funds provided by MAW in honor of a group of friends.
Anna Silver (b. 1928) is a Los Angeles-based artist who trained as a sculptor and painter. Influenced by Greek and Mediterranean pottery, Silver explores the relationship of surface painting though the tradition of functional forms.
Her vibrant and multi-layered paintings on clay are inspired by the Abstract Expressionist movement of non-objective mark making, spontaneity, and emotive use of color. Silver’s process is more intuition than formal improvisation. She applies glazes with measured physicality, skillfully coaxing bold, gestural drawings to float against backdrops of luminous pigment.
Anna Silver, Untitled Vessel, 1987. Low-fire stoneware. Gift of Lothar Von Schoenborn.
Cheryl Ann Thomas
Cheryl Ann Thomas (b. 1943) is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work explores notions of fragility, reconciliation, and unpredictability. Thomas uses traditional coiling techniques to create her vessels. Historically, coils are smoothed together and integrated to form the walls of a pot. Thomas leaves the coils exposed, retaining the imprint of her hand to create textures that echo woven textiles. The coils are so thin the form folds in on itself during the firing process, with elegant unpredictability.
Cheryl Ann Thomas, Vessel 5, 2003. Porcelain and Oxides. Gift of the Artist.
John Toki (b. 1951) is a Bay Area artist known for his monumental totem-like sculptures that reference landscapes, cross-sections of earth, or perhaps – a California fault line. Although many of his works weigh more than 1,000 pounds, Toki’s eye for detail is evident throughout, seen in his careful handling of rich surface textures and subtle color variation.
John Toki, Springtime Mirage, 2016. Stoneware and Porcelain. AMOCA Purchase, with funds provided by MAW in honor of a group of friends.
Kim Tucker (b. 1969) is a Los Angeles artist who explores the subconscious mind and human condition in her work. Tucker designs her own world of humor and mischief by creating artwork that manifests the viewer’s deep childlike thoughts into tangible forms that are both appealing and grotesque. Tucker hand-builds her work, often using colorful glazes to call attention to certain deformations.
Kim Tucker, Teenage Smiler, 2014. Stoneware. Gift of the Artist.
Patti Warashina (b. 1940) is a Seattle-based artist who takes pleasure in producing works that possess duality and ambiguity. Red Belly Surfer illustrates a barely-contained large fish in a boat with a tiny person holding on for dear life. The boat has a mysterious red glow referencing hot issues of nuclear reactors, radioactive waste, and environmental contamination, exemplified for decades by the Hanford site in Washington State where the artist resides.
Patti Warashina, Red Belly Surfer, 1989. Low-Fire Clay, Underglaze, Glaze, Mixed Media. Gift of the Artist.
Warashina often explores environmental, social, and political issues in her work. Water Boy is clothed in garments of “water,” with a roiling surface of erratically breaking waves. The high-gloss glaze creates a glistening wetness for the thrashing fish and oil-slicked boat.
Patti Warashina, Water Boy, 1991. Low-Fire Clay, Underglaze, Glaze, Mixed Media. Gift of the Artist.
Rimas VisGirda (b. 1942) is a Lithuanian-born American ceramic artist whose work is influenced by California underground cartoonists Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson. Additional influences include the British Punk movement and his travels to the former Soviet Union. VisGirda’s characteristic surface decoration uses engobes (clay slip), decals and luster overglazes to accentuate the granite bits he mixes into his clay body.
Rimas VisGirda, The Herend Sisters, 2009. Porcelain, Engobe and Luster. Gift of Artist.