April on Art...and Design
In South Florida and Beyond
Classics by Ohr, plus works by 15 modern ceramicists
An joyful mixture of contemporary sculptural ceramics, along with influential works by George Ohr, "The Mad Potter of Biloxi," are on display at the Boca Museum from November 7, 2017 to April 8, 2018. Entitled "Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter," this unique exhibition shouldn't be missed. Seen above, left to right are: A Single Joy of Song by Betty Woodman; center and right, Stella and Nestoris II, both by Nicole Cherubini.
Ohr's work still startles us, but he opened doors!
Enter this amazing exhibition at the Boca Museum and you will be hit with a double whammy. The strange abstract art pottery of the "Mad Potter of Biloxi," George Ohr, is waiting for you in the opening hall. Many of these pieces are glazed in surprising, starling, dark and moody colors; and some of them even project a sense of hesitancy or underlying conflict. But the work in the last case, most of it created in the 1890s, has a different aesthetic. It projects strength and power, and an abstract look far ahead of its time.
Walk a few steps further and you're in for a surprise: A large airy gallery, filled with colorful, happy sculptural ceramic installations. These burst forth with beauty, joy, and bright colors--very different from Ohr's work. But at the same time, they are clearly influenced by him. That accounts for the title of the show: "Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter."
Rare Ohr ceramics on display in opening hall
Two pieces--above left--on display in the exhibition illustrate Ohr's ability to combine traditional shapes with with startling colors and glazes. On the right, you can see the jump he made in the 1890s. He collapsed those shapes, twisted them, created thin walls, and came up with an abstract effect. The Arts and Crafts Movement of the day scorned these stange-looking pieces. But 50 years later artists like Jasper Johns and others consider him a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism. Today, it's hard to find these 1890s pieces for sale, and their prices keep rising. The most iconic pieces on display here come primarily from the collection of Marty and Estelle Shack, local collectors.
Ceramics expert Garth Clark sought out the artists
Garth Clark, the guest curator who put toether the show, says that he looked for artists "whose work continues the legacy of Ohr without copying it." He certainly succeeded.
Plus, he managed to pull together a group of ceramic artists whose work today is considered "fine art"---not just decorative or utilitarian, as ceramics were thought of in Ohr's day.
Indeed, today many artists and critics believe that Ohr's abstract art pottery hastened the transition of American ceramics from the world of utilitarian function to that of "fine art." The Boca Museum offers visitors an unusual opportunity to examine the work of many of these outstanding contemporary ceramic sculptural artists in one venue. The show runs from from Nov. 7, 2017 to April 8, 2018. For more details, see the my PalmBeachArtsPaper Ohr preview posted on my website, www.klimley.com.
Dear Art Lover: