HAMILLTOE - NEW SCULPTURES & DRAWINGS
September 8 - October 15, 2011
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Ron Nagle’s new sculpture appears to have a sense of place or to suggest surreal landscapes, replacing the underlying cup form of his early work. Pieces begin as drawings of organic shapes detailed with irregular growths, textures, knobs, facets, punctures, or pools. Models made from the quick drawings go through several iterations until the final slip-cast form is fired and ready for color. Paint has replaced Nagle’s multiple glaze firings, allowing him more flexible color options and the freedom to go with surprise combinations. While his goal has always been to produce simple “dumb” objects that invite interpretation as much as contemplation, this new body of work surpasses that goal. Every consideration one makes is up-ended by some other contradictory detail. Ambiguity is further enhanced by his humorous titles which suggest and confound. Who or what inspired either the organic forms or the palette? Guston, Morandi, and Francis Bacon would be good guesses, but so would firecracker packaging, amusing verbal tid bits, naughty body parts, and combinations of all of the above.
Ron Nagle has been exhibiting his ceramic sculptures for more than forty years and is included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He has been the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Adeline Kent Award, two Mellon Grants, and a Flintridge Foundation Visual Artist Award. Most recently, Mr. Nagle has received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.