Early Works: Personal and Intimate
The Frank Lloyd Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of work by the late Ralph Bacerra. Twenty-one selected early works, including intricately decorated ceramic vessels in many different forms will be featured in the exhibition, which will be on view from January 9 through February 6, 2010. Well known for his strength in surface pattern and decoration, Ralph Bacerra passed away on June 10, 2008. With over twenty solo exhibitions to his credit, Ralph Bacerra developed an international reputation in the world of contemporary ceramics.
Many of the smaller, early works show the artist's interest in Asian ceramics. He was particularly fond of Imari ware and Kutani ceramics. Rare among American ceramists, his works were collected by museums in Asia, including the Shigaraki Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Japan, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. In the U.S., Bacerra's work was included in the National Collection of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York.
Born in 1938 in Garden Grove, California, Bacerra had an affi nity for ceramics from an early age, and was a star pupil of Vivika Heino at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, California, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1961. Following a tour of duty in the military, Bacerra taught at Chouinard from 1963 to 1972. Then Bacerra worked for a decade as a studio artist, where he researched technological applications of ceramic materials. He accepted a position as chairman of the ceramics department at Otis College of Art and Design in 1983, and continued his teaching until 1995.
Known for his straightforward statements and his disciplined approach, the artist stated, "My pieces are based on traditional ideas and engage in certain cultural appropriations--in form, in design, in glaze choices. However, my work is not postmodern in the sense that I am not making any statements--social, political, conceptual, or even intellectual. There is no meaning or metaphor. I am committed more to the idea of pure beauty. When it is finished, the piece should be like an ornament, exquisitely beautiful."