Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom

Patti Warashina

July 14–September 29, 2012

The American Museum of Ceramic Art proudly presents Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom, an exhibition covering the ceramic art of Patti Warashina. The visual presentation, defined as a retrospective exhibition, consists of 75-100 examples that mark the evolution of Warashina’s life works. Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom illustrates Warashina’s variety of themes: the human condition, feminism, car-culture, political/social topics, and insider-art issues. Warashina’s sense of humor is prominent in her work. From visual spoofs on contemporary concerns to satirical commentary, her cleverly-worded titles emphasize her personal perspective.

In contrast to the single-note output of many artists, Patti Warashina’s ceramic art exhibits wide variety in size and scale, in techniques, and in concepts. Her willingness to strike out in her own direction is only surpassed by her willingness to reinvent herself. In the 1960s, while most ceramists were captivated by the throwing process, she abandoned the wheel in favor of handbuilding and molds; while typical work of that time was done in earth-tone glazed stoneware, she used white clay bodies and experimented with color; and while abstract expressionism was the preferred approach, Warashina favored concrete images and human figures. Patti Warashina refers to her roots as being uncomfortably planted in Abstract Expressionism and the macho tendencies of the day: “You had to take a piece of clay and beat it. Really take a stick to it. I loved it, but for other people. It wasn’t very personal to me.” She gradually abandoned stoneware and high-fire glazes for more control and tighter non-accidental surfaces.

Accompanying the Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom exhibit is a publication authored by Martha Kingsbury, Professor Emeritus in Art History at the University of Washington and prepared by AMOCA. In addition to the essay, the volume is comprised of full-page, color photographs of Warashina’s historically-significant or ground-breaking works. The publication was made possible by a gift from an anonymous national foundation.

AMOCA thanks our community sponsor, the Pasadena Art Alliance.

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