Los Angeles

Bertil Vallien

Ryder Gallery

The ceramic sculpture of Bertil Vallien, although small in scale, achieves a certain sense of monumentality through an understanding of proportion, form, and the play of light and shadow. He is faithful to the medium, yet able to subordinate craftsmanship to serve a sculptural, rather than a utilitarian or destructive end. This may seem obvious, but so much ceramic work remains on one or the other level, and so much current ceramic sculpture is willfully self-conscious, that it is refreshing to find someone who is willing to accept the limitations of the medium and achieve something in his own terms. These pieces have the presence of a piece of Haniwa or Mayan work and reflect an awareness of these traditions without depending on them.

Joan Hugo