San Francisco

First National Invitational Ceramic Exhibition

San Jose State College Art Gallery

Ceramics can be more than pottery and pottery can be more than craft, but that was not the case here. Workmanship was obvious, but the deepest level of insight was reached by the faculty members who set the show against fragments of a weather-stained barn.

Little bumps were stuck all over two vases by Robert Sperry. F. Carlton Ball covered the top of a huge stoneware jug with mouth-like discs (and titled it Fungus). These things were ornaments because they were not essential to the objects involved, but they were also the only ceramics that even hinted that their makers remotely desired to explore the medium. (Hal Riegger dabbled in free form with an earthenware vase, but just dabbled). The glazes were fancy, conceptually arid and commercial. William Wyman (from Massachusetts) showed two jars on which there were snatches of writing and an attempt at a painterly surface that only looked cute because the severe square jars worked against their lively exteriors—again no conceptual unity.

The most depressing thing about this exhibit was the complete absence of any ceramists who felt for clay as an art form.

Joanna C. Magloff