New York

Ron Nagle

Charles Cowles Gallery

Besides really big pictures, will the ’80s also be remembered for the return of really small objects to mainstream consideration? After all, much attention has been focused on the sheer physical ambitiousness of recent really big pictures by, say, Julian Schnabel and others. Still, current artistic tastes also run in a decidedly intimate direction whose peculiar concerns were tellingly addressed by West Coast artist Ron Nagle in his show of small ceramic sculpture.

Born in San Francisco in 1939, Nagle studied with Peter Voulkos and Kenneth Price. Like them, he can turn traditional ceramic materials and techniques to nontraditional ends. His slip-cast clay and multiple-fired glazes yield magical expression in the highly individuated forms here, all measuring less than a foot in any direction. Nagle can animate surfaces and specify compositions so that what we see triggers evocative associations.

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