An extensive exhibition of drawings, ceramics and sculptures covering 40 years of work by Ken Price bring the vibrant colours and shapes from southern California and Mexico to brighten up the dark wet winter days of London.
One of the most important ceramic artists of the 20th century, American artist Ken Price took influences from the Bauhaus, Japanese, Mexican and American southwestern art, jazz music and the pop art of the 1960s, transforming the humble cup into a colourful work of art and extending this to larger and more adventurous ceramic sculptures, with his later work starting to resemble naturalistic forms from alien worlds, perhaps linking with the sci-fi films of the 1990’s.
Displayed like precious objects in a Bond Street shop, the larger sculptures are shown on individual plinths in one of Hauser & Wirth’s galleries in Savile Row, several showing direct links with Mexican art, while an extensive display of drawings and ceramics is on show in the other, with a centrepiece being six ceramic vases from the 1970’s shown alongside the paining “From Happy Curios” (1973) with the same vibrant colours. Many of the drawings have direct links with the ceramics on display; others have related themes, with many showing scenes from Mexico and, entirely different in style, from Los Angeles, with 1990’s ideal home environments contrasting with the smoke from the industrial plants that underpins the American dream.
Drawing was essential to the development of Price’s sculpture and this exhibition shows how good he was at both and how he used drawings in the development of his ceramics: ‘I think sculptors learn to draw so that they can see what they’ve been visualising. Most sculptors can draw pretty well, and they draw in illusionistic space, because if you can’t draw it, you can’t see it.” (Ken Price”)