Ralph Bacerra: Exquisite Beauty

Exhibits // Ralph Bacerra: Exquisite Beauty

Feb 3 - Apr 2

Overview // Collectors and viewers alike will relish this rare opportunity to view and acquire Ralph Bacerra artworks at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art from February 3, 2017 until April 2, 2017.

Ralph Bacerra (1938–2008) was a Los Angeles–based ceramics artist known for creating meticulous ceramic vessels and sculptures adorned with complex patterns and mesmerizing color. Jo Lauria, a noted independent arts curator and author who specializes in decorative arts, crafts, and design, was Bacerra’s student. Inspired by the undisputed master of surface decoration in ceramics, Jo Lauria curated Exquisite Beauty for Otis College of Art and Design's Ben Matz Gallery. SLOMA is honored to exhibit selections from this magnificent collection of art.

Bacerra had a profound influence on the ceramic art world. Minimalism and abstraction ruled the trends of the day; decoration and china painting were looked down upon. Bacerra challenged current conventions by combining Asian decorative ceramic traditions with boundary-pushing elements like aggregated design motifs and optical inventions. He utilized labor-intensive finishes to produce incredibly opulent artworks. This new, unique visual vocabulary transformed a formerly “low” or minor technique into “high” art. The art world owes a debt of gratitude to Bacerra for the intense, luxurious colors and patterns he unabashedly embraced.

Bacerra served as the head of ceramics at Chouinard from 1964 through 1971, and then worked as a studio artist for ten years. He began teaching at Otis Art Institute in 1982. Appointed chair of ceramics in 1983 – 1996, he shared an admirable camaraderie with his students. They learned by witnessing his perfectionistic process, while sharing dialogue about glazing techniques, ceramic material properties, and critiques. Today, many of Bacerra’s former students are prominent artists.

Related Programming:
Saturday, Feb 4 at 2 PM: ARTalk with Jo Lauria and Cindy Bass. Free and open to the public.

Details // A public opening of the exhibition will take place in conjunction with Art After Dark on Friday, February 3, 2017 from 6 PM – 9 PM.