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Ralph Bacerra
A Survey of Recent Work
February 11-March 11, 2006
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The Frank Lloyd Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Ralph Bacerra, a major figure in the world of ceramic art. Ralph Bacerra's work has continually addressed the beauty of the decorated ceramic surface. Although the works range in scale and form, Bacerra has maintained a steadfast focus on ornamentation. The artist's meticulous approach incorporates a variety of elaborate non-western techniques, merging the influences of traditional Asian ceramics with Islamic patterns and abstract design. As curator Ulysses Grant Dietz recognized, "An entirely different painterly quality began to appear in American studio pots in the late 1970s. Ralph Bacerra was one of the first potters to revive the highly decorative surface, turning to enamels and luster glazes in a way that would have been unheard of in Los Angeles (or anywhere else in the Western world, for that matter) a decade earlier."

Bacerra's work is also influenced by his travels to China, Japan, and Taiwan. His work incorporates a multitude of visual experiences, including his investigations of Japanese Imari ware, layered glazes with enameled silver and gold, and rich celadon glazes. Bacerra incorporates traditional techniques—yet adapts them in his own style.

Ken Johnson, art critic of the New York Times, writes "To look at Ralph Bacerra's gorgeous ceramic vessels is to wallow in visual hedonism." Diverse sources such as the interlocking shapes of M.C. Escher and the composition of Japanese woodblock prints have informed Bacerra's sense of design. Further visual influences on Bacerra's work come from abstract painters of the 20th century including Wassily Kandinsky. Author Mac McCloud discusses Bacerra's ability to orchestrate these elements:

"The geometric imagery of Bacerra's collages conveys authority, sinuosity and the freewheeling wit of neatly interwoven stripes of shifting background hues. He synthesizes a variety of visual influences, several from non-Western cultures. His adaptations of 'Oriental' concepts of space—the planes that tilt precipitously forward towards the viewer."