Peter Voulkos: A Survey
This selected survey of 20 works spanning the fifty-year career of Peter Voulkos is presented at the Frank Lloyd Gallery during the month of May, 2011. From his earliest work to the monumental late sculpture, Voulkos established himself as a leader. Widely known for that groundbreaking work in the medium of fired clay, Peter Voulkos also made bronze sculpture since 1960, as well as etchings and monotypes.
Although primarily known as a ceramic artist, Voulkos cast many works in bronze during his career, and several examples are included in this exhibit. Voulkos also maintained an interest in painting and printmaking. That interest was reflected in the interrelationship of surface quality and incised line. Voulkos' line quality, alternately sinuous and deeply incised into the etching plate, is directly related to the use of sgraffito in the surface of his ceramic sculptures. These elements convey the same sense of process and dynamism present in his ceramic sculptures. The images depicted in the works on paper also relate to the forms Voulkos created in clay. Despite the similarity of imagery, the works on paper were never intended as plans or drawings for future works. Rather they were an extension of the ceramic works, allowing Voulkos to explore and develop his ideas in a linear format.
Throughout his career, Voulkos was known an innovator. As ceramic sculptor Kenneth Price has stated, "In one way or another, he influenced everyone who makes art out of clay, since he was the main force in liberating the material…he broke down all the rules." In an obituary for The New York Times, Roberta Smith wrote: "Firmly grounded as a craftsman, Mr.Voulkos went on to reinvent ceramics as a meeting ground for painting and sculpture. During his 50-year career Mr. Voulkos was influential as a thinker, teacher and fearless innovator who followed a constantly changing course."