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Bay Area Clay: A Legacy of Social Consciousness

Art Show, Ceramics/Pottery

This exhibition includes works by internationally recognized artists Arthur Gonzalez, Michelle Gregor, Marc Lancet, Mark Messenger, Richard Notkin, Lisa Reinertson, Richard Shaw, Ehren Tool, Monica Van Den Dool, Stan Welsh, and Wanxin Zhang. From Robert Arneson’s “War Heads” to Stephen de Staebler’s enigmatic figures, early Bay Area ceramic sculptors were addressing themes of the human condition reflected in the social and political issues of the times. By working in the medium of clay, considered outside of the “fine art establishment”, ceramic artists felt a great freedom of expression to respond to social issues such as the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women’s Rights movement. Many of these artists were also teachers of a clay community that was blossoming in the Bay Area during this period. The exhibition focuses on this second generation of artists who studied with luminaries such as Robert Arneson, Stephen deStabler, and Viola Frey. From issues of environmental degration to the threat of nuclear war, these artists continue to bring their own unique commentary on current social, political, and environmental issues. This exhibit is curated by artist Lisa Reinertson. She is nationally known for her life-size figurative ceramic sculptures and her large-scale public sculptures cast in bronze. Her works have been displayed nationally and internationally in exhibitions and museums such as the Crocker Art Museum, the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, and the Museo Internationale Della Ceramica in Faenza, Italy.