Photographs of work from MIND+MATTER: Five Bay Area Artists

Pictured left-to-right: work in the MIND+MATTER exhibition by Arthur Gonzalez, Nancy Selvin, Robert Brady, Richard Shaw, and Beverly Mayeri.

On View:August 14, 2021–January 23, 2022
Curator Gallery Walk:August 14, 2021 • 4–5 PM
Reception:September 11, 2021 • Reception and Gallery Talk

Since the 1950s, the Bay Area has provided fertile ground for ceramic experimentation and innovation. Abstract Expressionism, Bay Area Figurative, and Funk movements fueled an art scene in Northern California, christening it as a leading center of progressive art and thought in the mid-twentieth century.

Colleges and universities in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, and Davis became distinguished epicenters of vanguard ceramic education. Students flocked to study with luminary artists/educators Robert Arneson, Karen Breschi, Viola Frey, Jim Melchert, Ron Nagel, and Peter Voulkos as they created new and alternative ways to investigate the vast potential of ceramics. These artists had a significant influence on the next generation of Northern California artists, five of which are highlighted in this exhibition.

MIND+MATTER: Five Bay Area Sculptors assembles over 80 works by Robert Brady, Arthur Gonzalez, Beverly Mayeri, Nancy Selvin, and Richard Shaw. Each investigates clay’s materiality while evoking profound expressions of life experiences, contemporary issues, psychological explorations, and reflections of popular culture. The wildly divergent approaches to artmaking of these five artists continue to be a touchstone for new generations of artists working in ceramics.

MIND+MATTER: Five Bay Area Sculptors is curated by Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director, and Jo Lauria, Adjunct Curator.

Jo Lauria is one of the Southern California’s foremost curators of ceramic arts. A former curator of decorative arts at LACMA where she organized the seminal exhibition Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000, Lauria’s past curatorial projects at AMOCA include Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California (1945–1975)Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future: AMOCA’s 10th AnniversaryDiscovering Saar Ceramics, and Silver Splendor: The Art of Anna Silver. Learn more at or follow her on Instagram.

This exhibition is funded in part by The Boardman Family Foundation and The LA County Department of Arts & Culture.

Robert Brady

The career of Bay Area artist Robert Brady (b. 1946) spans over 50 years. His early career began as a potter and his versatility and skill with materials led him to explore figurative and abstract sculptures in clay and wood. Brady describes the initial shift in media as a “risk, but something which made sense due to the warm and receptive nature of both materials.” Today, Brady works effortlessly between clay, wood, bronze, and works on paper.

Robert Brady received his BFA from California College of the Arts and his MFA from the University of California, Davis. He has lectured and taught workshops nationally and internationally, and was Professor of Art at California State University, Sacramento, for 33 years.

Robert Brady, Snow White, 2015. Clay, glaze. 22.5 x 17 x 9 inches.

Arthur Gonzalez

Aesthetically, the work of Arthur Gonzalez (b. 1954) balances painting and sculpture, clay figures and blown glass, and horsehair and natural sponges. These elements are not “found objects,” or even mixed media, but closer to Joseph Bueys’ ideas of “material.” The figures are a device to trigger the viewer’s need to see “narrative,” a support system for the artist’s symbols and the materials. 

Arthur Gonzalez received his MFA from the University of California, Davis. He studied under Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri, and Wayne Thiebaud. He is a Professor in the Ceramics Program at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California.

Arthur Gonzalez, The Sleeper Wakes, 1983-2020. Ceramic, blown glass, plaster, epoxy, pigment, glaze. 12 x 18 x 15 inches.

Beverly Mayeri

The human figure is an excellent source of inspiration for Beverly Mayeri (b. 1944). Although not portraits, she uses her sculptures as “stand-ins” for the human condition and “landscapes of the mind.” She exaggerates the proportions of the head and face, extending the nose, shortening the forehead, or placing the eyes towards the top of the head to concentrate the viewer’s attention. The concepts that motivate her work aren’t derived from a logical process, but from a form of daydreaming that sometimes gives way to new perspectives of looking at life.

Beverly Mayeri received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA in Sculpture from San Francisco State University.

Beverly Mayeri, Vanishing Species, Western Face, 2006. Clay, acrylics. 33 x 22 x 8 inches. Collection of Alan Mandell.

Nancy Selvin

Throughout her career, Nancy Selvin (b. 1943) has consistently explored the formal language of vessels, challenging the notions of containment and use. Focused on color and form rather than their function, Selvin uses images of vases, books, bottles, and teapots in her ceramic sculptures. 

Nancy Selvin received her BFA and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is Senior Adjunct Faculty in the Ceramics program at the California College of the Arts. 

Nancy Selvin, “Intentionally Left Blank” Because Words are Not Enough, #010, #016, #021, #035, #043 #045, #048, 2018-2019. Porcelain, gold glues, gold leaf. 15 to 25 inches tall.

Richard Shaw

Richard Shaw (b. 1941) is a skilled illusionist. His magic is not performed on stage with a rabbit and a hat but rather in his ceramic studio with liquid clay and molds. Shaw employs the traditional technique of trompe l’oeil (French for “fool the eye”) to create the illusion that the objects in his sculptural assemblages are what they appear to be—found objects and everyday household items.

Shaw received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and received his MFA from the University of California, Davis. H started teaching ceramics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987, and is currently professor emeritus.

MIND+MATTER: Five Bay Area Artists (Richard Shaw)
Richard Shaw, Mrs. Rembrandt, 2009. Porcelain, underglaze, overglaze decals. 40 x 20 x 19 inches.