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Museum Visit: Analysis of Two Ceramic Works

Museum Visit: Analysis of Two Ceramic Works

A recent visit to the Long Beach (California) Museum of Art permitted this writer to view and analyze two works of ceramic art, both wheel-thrown pieces. This brief report will describe those works, identifying their creators and presenting a personal response to each work.

The first piece is a wheel-thrown porcelain bowl (no date) created by Laura Andresen. Andresen studied with Austrian TmigrT Gertrud Natzier for a brief period, learning throwing techniques and glaze formulae. In 1957, Andresen began to work exclusively in porcelain.

The piece crated by Andresen is a bronze-toned bowl-like vessel with a wide mouth and gently outwardly-sloping sides. The piece is speckled, with elements of copper appearing on the sides of the bowl and on its mouth. It appears to be functional, though its decorative purpose is also readily apparent. There is a strong sculptural quality to this work, largely due to its symmetrical shape and evenness of composition. Observation suggests that the piece was carefully built-up on the wheel, then glazed and fired at high temperatures.

The piece is clearly a vessel and not merely a metaphor for a vessel. I observed a sensuous quality in this ceramic piece, which seemed to be largely due to its coloration and the textural indications of its surface (which was smooth, as might be expected in a porcelain piece, but gave the suggestion of texture via the placement and use of copper speckles). It seemed to be an idealized rendition of a functional bowl for displaying fruit or other items.

The second piece observed at the Museum was a Compote by Harrison McIntosh (born 1915) that was created in 1958. This wheel-thrown piece was composed of stoneware, and was therefore a more roughly finished and textured piece than that of Andresen. The Compote was a large open and wide-mounted bowl-like vessel supported on a relatively slender but proportion...

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