San Francisco

Ron Nagle

Quay Gallery

Both the consistently minuscule dimensions and the precisely painted surfaces of Ron Nagle’s ceramic sculptures evoke an aura of preciousness with which they must inevitably wrestle. In the past, Nagle has fought decorative cuteness by using streamlined architectonic shapes and surface designs that played with and against the form. The silhouettes of his cast-earthenware pieces were inspired by the domestic cup, and variations on their squat, cylindrical, asymmetrical archetype have ranged from irregularly notched three-dimensional “parallelograms” to rigorously cubic upright blocks. Yet the volumetric masses generally seem secondary to, or to provide a background for, their intricately textured and colored surfaces, which in turn evince such close attention to minute detail and glaze sheen that they almost suggest fussed-over trinkets.

Several of the dozen works from 1984 in this show

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