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Rudy Autio: In the Round

January 13 - March 24, 2007


The American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) will host Rudy Autio: In the Round, from January 13th through March 24th, 2007. Concentrating on works created by Montana artist Rudy Autio from 1980 to the present, this exhibition will emphasize the importance of Autio's distinctive sculptural approach to his smooth, undulating, body-like forms. Trained in drawing and painting from an early age, one can easily see how these skills play into his current work. An important aspect of the presentation will deal with Autio's application of figurative images, noting the brush strokes that produce a tension between the contours of the piece and the graphic lines. Conversely, there is a subtle blending of shape and surface marks that unify each piece. (right: Photo of a tour of the exhibition Rudy Autio: In the Round at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. Installation shot of Penryn Wall Plate, 2004, 28 x 4 inches, stoneware, collection of Rudy & Lela Autio)

Rudy Autio: In the Round includes fifteen large, free-standing ceramic sculptures by Montana artist, Rudy Autio, created since 1986. Also presented are a few examples of wall plates, works on paper, and early vessels. Many of the sculptural pieces included in this exhibition will come from the artist's collection as well as the Holter Museum and the Archie Bray Foundation, both in Helena, Montana. A small number of works on paper and an informative video will also be included in the exhibit.

While noting some of the influences that shaped his artistic development, the exhibition focuses on Autio's distinctive approach to sculpture in both construction and imagery. Beginning with a sturdy, hollow, ceramic trunk, Autio adds ear-like appendages or "cactus arm" extensions, each rounded and smoothed at the join to form subtle, curved transitions. Because Audio was trained in drawing and painting from an early age, these skills play a major role in his distinctive surface treatment, a bending and blending of his two-dimensional figures so as to become one with his three-dimensional constructions. Autio skillfully applies "floating" figures, mainly nudes and horses, to the completed form. There is a certain tension created between the contours of the piece and the hard-edged outlines. On the other hand, the subtle blending of the structure's shape and the figurative silhouettes unify each piece.

Born in Butte, Montana in 1926 of Finnish parents, Rudy Autio is considered one of the most significant and inspirational artists working with clay in the United States today. Rudy Autio headed the ceramics department at the University of Montana for twenty-eight years. He was also a founding resident artist at the Archie Bray Ceramics Foundation in Helena, Montana. Autio received a Tiffany Award in Crafts in 1963, the American Ceramic Society Art Award in 1978, and a National Endowment grant in 1980, enabling him to work and lecture at the Arabia Porcelain Factory and the Applied Arts University in Helsinki, Finland. In 1981 he was the first recipient of the Governor's Award, naming him an outstanding visual artist in the state of Montana. He is a Fellow of the American Crafts Council, Honorary Member of the National Council of Education in the Ceramic Arts, and in 1999 he was awarded the American Craftsman's Gold Medal Award.

The Autio exhibition will include biographical wall text along with visual or written references to the multitude of influences on his work: WPA drawing classes, Japanese wood block prints, Henry Moore, Henri Matisse, Picasso, Isamu Noguchi.


(above: Rudy Autio, Escapade, 2001, 33 x 23 x 21 inches, stoneware, collection of Rudy & Lela Autio.


(above: Rudy Autio, Las Vegas, 2005, 35.5 x 24 x 32.5 inches, stoneware, Stremmel Gallery, Nevada)


(above: Rudy Autio, Luna Lake, 1987, 23 x 19 x 12 inches, stoneware, collection of Lynn Meyers)


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rev. 2/5/07

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