20th Century American Ceramics Exhibit; Part 3: Sculptures and bowls

Photos and text by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, USA.

The Venue

This exhibit took place in the Bonsack Gallery of John Burroughs High School in Ladue, Missouri from August 22 to October 10, 2017.  The pieces in the exhibit showcased the ceramic art pieces that were gifted to the school from the Matthew & Jane Newman family in the honor of Andrew R. Newman.


The Call for Entry

There was no call for entry, as this was an exhibit of art works gifted to the school.

The Ceramic Art Pieces

This third blog on the exhibit will show the sculptures, bowls, and wall hangings.  The previous two blogs on this exhibit showed the vessels with a lid, and the vessels without a lid.

“Trophy Head on Pedestal” by Robert Arneson

This miniature bust was produced as gift for friends.  Arneson was later diagnosed with liver cancer, and the miniatures took on a meaning of irony and resilience in the face of inevitable death. Many of his sculptures picture the artist, and sometime those pieces are called the autobiography in clay.  Because of his controversial works in the 1960″s, he is considered the grandfather of “Funk Art”.







“Dresden Doll” by Paul Soldner

This a large piece, about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, displayed hanging on the wall. This is a salt-fired piece, and different surface textures and differently colored glazes are used to make a patchwork of curved and layered sheets.  A Dresden doll is a type of doll whose body is made of a patchwork of cloths and textiles with the head being made of porcelain.  That may have been the inspiration behind this piece.   Soldner has achieved legendary status in ceramics, because of him being Peter Voulkos’ first student, a relationship that lead to a body of work, and to an untethered artistic attitude.  In addition, Soldner designed, manufactured and sold ceramic equipment such as wheels and mixers.




“Bowl” by Ken Ferguson

This a large bowl, about 2 feet in diameter.  The porcelain glazes on this piece fit very well with the curved inner surface of the bowl.  Ken Ferguson is another one of those well-trained (graduate of Alfred University, worked at the Archie Bray Foundation) and incredibly productive and influential American Ceramicists.





“Untitled III” by Ron Nagle
“Untitled III” by Ron Nagle

This is a very small sculpture, maybe  two inches long, but it displays the precision Nagle made his sculptures.  The details of this work are not given on the tag, but he typically used multiple firings to achieve surface texture, and also used painting and airbrushing to add the desired colors.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *