Reseach: Nagle & Ohr

Ron Nagle / George Ohr: Look Closer, Look Again

During May and June the George Adams Gallery will exhibit works by Ron Nagle (SF 1938 -) and George Ohr (1857-1918). The exhibition will consist of approximately ten unique ceramic sculptures by each artist, the Nagles dating from 1970 to 2010 and the Ohrs from the turn of the last century.

The exhibition highlights the work of two ceramic artists working 100 years apart who, despite obvious differences, nonetheless share numerous qualities and outlooks. Ohr’s unglazed, folded “bowls” or blister-glazed “pots” are remarkably similar in their ability to invite close scrutiny and appreciation of their complex surfaces as do Nagle’s contemporary works in porcelain. While Ohr ‘s emphasis is on use while Nagle’s is on making a sculptural object, for both carefully controlled color relationships, sculptural forms, and surface modulations are central to their oeuvres.

Ohr, known as the “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” was active from 1883 when he opened his studio in Biloxi, Mississippi, until 1910. He referred to himself as an “art potter” and specialized in both utilitarian and non-utilitarian ceramics notable for their complex glazes and eccentric forms and surfaces.

Ron Nagle, active beginning in the mid 1960s in Los Angeles and later in the Bay Area (he taught at Mills College until recently), was initially associated with the high luster and pristine surfaces of the LA car culture. His works are rarely utilitarian (he is known to make sake cups from time to time), almost always small scale, and in porcelain that require multiple firings to create subtly textured and glazed surfaces.

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