LOS ANGELES — Nineteen new sculptures alongside a selection of new drawings by long-time San Francisco art scene denizen Ron Nagle are on display as part of his new Ice Breaker exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery (Los Angeles, January 21 -April 8 2017).
Above Image: Ron Nagle, Curried Favor (detail), 2016, Ceramic, catalyzed polyurethane, and epoxy resin, 4/ 4 1/4 x 3 1/8 x 4 1/4 inches
Each piece, no bigger than 8 inches in any direction, functions as a euphemism examining moments in the human experience. His work evokes domestic scenes and geological occurrences, often colliding the two or leaving the work to exist somewhere between.
To explore these narratives, the forms are rendered with such contemporary materials as epoxy resin, catalyzed polyurethane, high-gloss automotive paint and even cartoon-like airbrushing technique lending to Nagle’s distinctive style, Art Observed writes.
His pieces are marked as much by their referential aspects as they are their skilled fusion of each element in itself. Polyurethane and resin spread across the original ceramic object in curving layers, lumpy pours of each that manages to both emphasize the element in exchange and their own materiality. The result are a series of pieces that take great investment in the act of looking, presenting momentary riddles and hidden features that encourage the viewer to spend a lingering moment.
Glass vitrines serve to display works meant to be seen from above or in the round, while the niches present several works, including Elusive Combinations, whose branch-like form (and size) evokes the art of bonsai.
Nagle has referred to these works in his three-dimensional paintings continuing his same formal considerations of color, texture and proportion, the gallery writes.
Among his primary aesthetic influences, Nagle cites shibui, the Japanese notion of simplicity balanced with complexity. He has also spoken of his experiences with San Francisco’s hot-rod culture of the 1960s and the connection he feels to the art of Ken Price and Billy Al Bengston.
Nagle was born in San Francisco in 1939 and began working with ceramics during the 1950s as a high school student. In 1961 he apprenticed to Peter Voulkos and later exhibited his work alongside Voulkos, Price, and other innovative West Coast artists working in clay. His first one- person exhibition took place in 1968, and since then his work has been shown at numerous museums, including one-person exhibitions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In 2013 his work was included in the exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace” at the 55th Venice Biennale. He lives and works in San Francisco.
Read more Cfile musings of Nagle’s work.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.