Through the Fire, From Dirt to Dazzle: Ceramic Works from the Drewliner/Higa Gifts

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    Virgil Ortiz, American, born 1969. Winged Angel, 2008, coil-built, Cochiti red clay, white clay slip, red clay slip, black (wild spinach) paint. 14 1/2 x 11 x 11 inches. Collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, gift of The Contemporary Museum, 2011, pu

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October 20, 2011 - January 29, 2012
TCM/Spalding House

Exhibition Overview

Since 2004, Peter Drewliner and Charles Higa have been donating works of art and acquisition funds to expand and enhance the museum’s strong collection of contemporary ceramics. Gifts from their collection and other acquisitions that they have made possible, most of which are being exhibited for the first time since they were accessioned by the museum, span the history of contemporary ceramics.

On view are major examples by masters of the mid-century American Studio Pottery movement such as Beatrice Wood, Edwin and Mary Scheier, Karen Karnes, Rose Cabat, Robert Turner, Ruth Duckworth, and Maija Grotell, who was the teacher and mentor of Toshiko Takaezu—also included in the exhibition.  More recent works are by Adrian Saxe, Ken Ferguson, John Pagliaro, Virgil Ortiz, and Dorothy Feibleman. 

Drewliner/Higa support has also bolstered the representation of foreign artists in the ceramics collection, including works by Rupert Spira and Gabrielle Koch (both England), Gustavo Perez (Mexico), Steve Heinemann and Paul Mathieu (both Canada), Yo Akiyama (Japan), and Renee Reichenbach (Germany). 

While the majority of works are based in the vessel tradition (however, these definitely aren’t your grandmother’s china!), several are sculptural in nature, such as those by Robert Hudson, Hawaii’s own Esther Shimazu, and Beverly Mayeri. Mayeri’s The Toddler is on view in the new installation Anxiety’s Edge, in the Clare Boothe Luce Gallery (27).