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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    German Op-Art Ceramics exhibit to open at UA Museum of Art

    Courtesy of UAMA
    Courtesy of UAMA

    The UA Museum of Art has a new exhibit of German Op-Art Ceramics that opened Sept. 28, and will be on display until Jan. 27. UA Associate Professor of Studio Art Lawrence Gipe collected and researched the pieces in this exhibit. For years, Gipe has been collecting mid-century German ceramics, or relief-porzellan, as well as conducting research on the history of their creation, the factories and the individual artists.

    The exhibit is tucked away on the second floor of the UAMA, nestled between cathedral art and figure drawings. The ceramics are made of white, matte bisque porcelain contrasted against mild blue walls, making the white pop and drawing the viewer’s focus to the vases.

    The first pieces seen as you enter the exhibit are from Tapio Wirkkala. His pieces are elegant with appealing soft curves. The tops of the ceramics have delicate textured edges that naturally blend with the rest of the piece. One off-kilter, round-based vase sports round raised rings. The artisans of these mass-produced ceramics were dedicated to using the environment to influence their craft, with stunning, organic-looking results. Wirkkala’s work is a beautiful way to ease viewers into the rest of the textured ceramic pieces.

    As visitors walk about the room and peer through Heinrich Fuchs’ case, the wall pieces are visible as well, creating a diverse and layered visual. Designers like Fuchs focused on how light plays on the carved crescent shapes in a cylinder. Ernst Fenzl based his “Silvana” series from the summer of 1970 on the patterns of natural tree bark.

    The use of nature in the op-art genre developed over time. The artists play with visuals and imitate nature in a surprising form. Some vases characterize sea-pounded boulders, crystalline rock formations and even shell and tide pool-like structures.

    There is now a larger amount of information on each individual artist and production company and the op-art style in general, thanks to Gipe’s collection and work in finding the missing pieces of this elegant time in German ceramics. While the UAMA at times seems hectic in its variance and multitude of exhibits, Gipe’s collection gives viewers a gentle nook to escape into, and feel the unique satisfaction that comes from viewing the op-art ceramics of the Germans.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Jeannie @jwwwood.

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