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Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser

February 13 - April 20, 2008

 

Bellevue Arts Museum presents Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser, a mid-career retrospective of a master potter and painter, on view February 13 through April 20, 2008. (right: Kurt Weiser, Bird Merchant, 1991, Cast porcelain, china paint, 11 x 12 ? inches,. Sonny and Gloria Kamm Collection. Photo: Anthony Cunha)

The exhibition is comprised of approximately forty ceramic sculptures and several drawings that illustrate Weiser's signature style that fuses the art of ceramics and china painting techniques. Weiser's porcelain vessels range from classically-inspired, yet amorphous lidded jars and teapots to unique mounted globes that are richly decorated with otherworldly imagery, and are full of allegorical and mythological references and lush landscapes.

Weiser's early works consist of abstract forms with minimal surface decoration, an approach in which he soon felt limited. Around 1990, the artist began incorporating vibrant, fertile, tropical landscapes -- perhaps stemming from his trips to Thailand -- on the glazed surface of his vessels. Surreal figures set within rich vegetation and wildlife emphasize a unique, mystifying interaction with nature. "I gave up trying to control nature and decided to use what I had learned about the materials to express some ideas about nature itself and my place in it" states Weiser. His mastery of the china painting technique ­ an overglazing process that requires multiple firings and careful attention to color placement and order ­ allows each vessel to portray an enveloping, multi-dimensional narrative.

Weiser received his B.F.A. (1972) at the Kansas City Art Institute under the guidance of ceramics master Ken Ferguson (1928-2004), the head of the ceramics department and one of the greatest American ceramics masters of the twentieth century. After completing his M.F.A. at the University of Michigan in 1976, Weiser was appointed Resident Director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Montana. The artist now maintains a studio in Tempe, Arizona where he is a Regents Professor at Arizona State University.

Kurt Weiser's work is featured in public and private collections around the world that include: The Mint Museum of Craft + Design, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Shiragaki, Japan; Helsinki Museum of Applied Arts, Finland; and the National Museum of History, Taipei, among others.

Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, Arizona, and curated by Curator of Ceramics Peter Held.

 

(above: Kurt Weiser, Confidential, 1998, Cast porcelain, china paint, 18 x 12 inches. Jim and Vicki Mercer Collection. Photo: Craig Smith)

 

(above: Kurt Weiser, Europa, 2005, Cast porcelain, china paint, bronze. David and Sara Lieberman Collection. Photo: Craig Smith)

 

(above: Kurt Weiser, Iguana, 1992, Cast porcelain, china paint, 17 ? x 9 x 5 inches. ASU Art Museum Collection, gift of Museum Store. Photo: Craig Smith)

 

Checklist for the exhibition in chronological order

 
1. Plate, 1977
Glazed stoneware
20 _ x 20 _ x 2 _"
Collection of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
 
2. Plate, 1978
Glazed stoneware
2 _ x 21 _ x 21 _"
Collection of Jeanne and William Porter
 
3. Teapot, ca. 1978
Glazed porcelain
10 x 6 _ x 7 _"
Collection of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
 
4. Raku Stirrup Jar, 1981
Glazed earthenware
20 x 16 _ x 16 _"
Private Collection
 
5. Raku Toucan Jar, 1981
Glazed earthenware
15 x 12 _ x 12 _"
Collection of William and Jeanne Porter
 
6. Plate, 1982
Earthenware, residual salt-fired
26 _"diameter
Collection of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
 
7. Vase, 1984
Glazed stoneware
17 _ x 10 x 7 _"
Collection of Mike and Barbara Jenson
 
8. Untitled Vase, 1984
Glazed stoneware
15 x 9 _ x 5"
Collection of Steven Korff and Marcia Van Wagner
 
9. Vessel with Stirrup Handle, 1984
Earthenware, residual salt-fired
17 x 16 x 16"
Collection of the Arizona State University Art Museum, gift of Anne and Sam Davis
 
10. Stepped Vase, ca. 1985
Glazed stoneware
16 _ x 9 x 5 _"
Collection of the artist
 
11. Shino Crackle Cut Foot Vase, 1986
Glazed stoneware
12 x 8 x 4"
Collection of the artist
 
12. Blue and White Crackle Bowl, 1986
Glazed stoneware
5 _ x 19 _ x 19"
Collection of Jeanne and William Porter
 
13. Leaf Plate, 1988
Glazed stoneware
4 _ x 27 x 27"
Collection of Michael Gilbert and Catherine Shaner Gilbert
 
14. Tango, 1988
Glazed stoneware with porcelain inclusions
22 x 10 x 5"
Collection of the artist
 
15. Vessel, 1988
Glazed stoneware with porcelain inclusions
25 _ x 10 _ x 5"
Collection of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
 
16. Whispering Fish, 1991
Cast porcelain, black slip
9 _ x 13 x 4 _"
Collection of Craig Smith
 
17. Untitled Teapot (Scissors in Hand), 1991
Cast porcelain, black slip
11 x 13"
Courtesy of the Kamm Teapot Foundation
 
18. The Bird Merchant, 1991
Cast porcelain, china paint
11 x 12 _"
Courtesy of the Kamm Teapot Foundation
 
19. Lidded Jar, 1992
Cast Porcelain, china paint
17 x 10"
Collection of Stephen and Pamela Hootkin
 
20. Iguana, 1992
Cast porcelain, china paint
17 _ x 9 x 5"
Collection of the Arizona State University Art Museum,
gift of the Museum Store
 
21. Confidential, 1997
Cast porcelain, china paint
20 x 14"
Collection of Jim and Vicki Mercer
 
22. Red Leaf, 1998
Cast porcelain, china paint
20 x 12"
Collection of Roberta and Bruce Hammer
 
23. Abduction Jar, 1999
Cast porcelain, china paint
18 x 11"
Collection of Barbara and Donald Tober
 
24. Small Fruit, 2000
Cast porcelain, china paint
15 _ x 16"
Collection of John Hoffman
 
25. Untitled Teapot (Elephant), 2000
Cast porcelain, china paint
7 x 8"
Collection of the Arizona State University Art Museum,
museum purchase
 
26. Outdoor Life, 2000
Cast porcelain, china paint
12 x 12"
Collection of Sandra Schwalb
 
27. Perfume, 2000
Cast porcelain, china paint
14 x 12"
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Youk Lee
 
28. Orbit, 2001
Cast porcelain, china paint
17 _ x 15"
Collection of Pam Smith
 
29. Bright Angel, 2001
Cast porcelain, china paint
17 x 12 _ x 5 _"
Collection of Saul E. Levi
 
30. Night Harvest, 2002
Cast porcelain, china paint
17 _ x 12 _ x 9"
Collection of the Newark Museum, Purchase 2002 Membership Endowment
Fund, Eleanor S. Upton Bequest Fund and Conklin Memorial Fund
 
31. Semi Conscious, 2002
Cast porcelain, china paint
13 _ x 14"
Collection of Marvin Gerstin
 
32. Blue & White Vase, 2003
Cast porcelain, cobalt decoration
9 _ x 5 x 4"
Collection of the Arizona State University Art Museum,
Diane and Sandy Besser Collection
 
33. Europa, 2005
Cast porcelain, china paint, bronze
27 x 17"
Collection of Sara and David Lieberman
 
34. Set of Four Choka Soba Cups, 2006
Cast porcelain, cobalt decoration
approximately 3 _ x 3 _ x 3 _" each
Courtesy of the artist
 
 
Prints & Drawings
 
35. Untitled, 1988
Pencil drawing on paper
14 x 17", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
36. Untitled (Study for Bird Merchant), 1990
Pencil drawing on paper
14 x 10 _", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
37. Untitled, 1996
Ink drawing on paper
11 x 8 _", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
38. Untitled (July 18, 1998, Archie Bray Foundation Meeting), 1998
Ink drawing on paper
11 x 8 _", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
39. Untitled (July 18, 1998), 1998
Ink drawing on paper
11 x 8 _", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
40. Untitled (Friday, August 13th, 1999, Archie Bray Meeting), 1999
Ink drawing on paper
12 x 9", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
41. Untitled (Study for Globe Series), 2004
Pencil drawing on paper
8 _ x 5 _", unframed
Courtesy of the artist
 
42. Untitled, 2006
Lithograph, ed. 25/30 Printed with Joe Segura Publishing, Mesa, Arizona
23 _ x 17 _", unframed
Collection of the Arizona State University Art Museum
Gift of the artist


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