Los Angeles

Peter Voulkos, Jun Kaneko

Stuart Galleries

At the David Stuart Galleries, Peter Voulkos confirms his continuing role as a major potter with a selection of yard high ceramic urns from a series of some two dozen in progress. Each form is a straightforward stacking of clearly differentiated cylindrical shapes. Flaring cone and flange-like shapes and a few gently oval profiles provide the relief of variety, for the surfaces are barely decorated by incising, and covered completely by a matte silverish black glaze. In intention they are entirely serious, rather somber, and certainly free from the bombastic Baroque rhythms of his recent sculptures. One recognizes a similarity in the basic pipe-like units and in the feeling of weightiness of the material, for the pots are as sturdy as tanks or ancient storage vessels.

The comfortable monumentality of the Voulkoses contrasts sharply with the animated gestures of the containers and sculptures of his former student, Jun Kaneko. Hand built slab forms have been forced in several remarkable articulations. The pots are largish covered drums hoisted off the ground by being set on unusual legs. Curiously shaped, the favored forms show a fascination with body parts as knees or shoulders, the arc of a cranium set upon a neck column, the reversals of directions found in insect bodies. They seem to imply the possibility of movement and this is true especially of the sculptures poised, upended, ready for a springing leap. The glazes are a selection of oddly unappealing hues and a bit too funky in their decorative application in striped and zigzagged bands and dashes. If the forms are eccentric and unusual for the medium, the glazes lack the brilliance of direct identity found in most of his previous ceramics. One must however commend his entirely personal direction within this tradition-bound discipline.

Fidel Danieli