Los Angeles

Dora de Larios

The Zora Gallery

Ceramic sculpture. A fine survey of one of Southern California’s better designer-craftsmen working in the area of hand-thrown multiple stoneware.

Imaginative and original, De Larios’ pieces are built from central pots with multiple animals, creatures or people jutting out from the body to rotate in an ascending spiral to the apex. Although the shapes are static, due to the limitations of throwing, the carrousel-like design is so well articulated and the figures so well placed that the constructions have the appearance of running, springing and growing movement. Many pieces are incised—some areas have over-all decorative motifs—but not one sculpture is just decorative. A free-form plaque, “Sheep Going Round,” of cream, purple and earth glazes shows the same rhythms and movements as the multiple structures. This is a stoneware community of furred and feathered creatures. Once in a while an individual figure looking slightly defiant and, alarmed in caught at being alone, stares back. Only the acrobats seem self contained. “Self Portrait,” a large column that evolves into a seated figure is but one of many that can be singled out for praise.

One wonders how so difficult a medium with its cycles of throwing, firing, construction, re-firing could come to such a carefree, witty and happy conclusion. The answer lies in a combination of superb craftsmanship and genuine creativity.

Betje Howell