On the Town: Pottery exhibit molds a hands-on approach

Longtime pottery collector Tim Meikle, who has dedicated over half of his life to amassing unique pieces that date back to the 1880s, was delighted with the offerings of the latest exhibit — ceramic artist Robert Moore's Light and Dark series — at the Burbank Creative Arts Center.

“Look at this,” said Meikle as he pointed out the delicate rim of a displayed piece at Friday's opening reception. “It's amazing to think this is done by hand and not machine. He (Moore) is a true artist in what he does with clay.”

What Robert Moore does is art, inspired by the work of renowned ceramic artists such as Peter Voulkos, Hans Coper, Roseline Delistle, and George E. Ohr who challenged the idea of the vessel and its traditional characteristics of utility through geometric abstraction, crafted with handmade mechanical precision. Moore, who earned a master's degree in fine arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, said he relies on form rather than personal imagery or pictographic style when he creates. “I strive for visual stimulation through works that have individual presence — objects that require a lingering examination,” he said.

The Light and Dark series, which highlights Moore's controlled manipulation of form that, in his words: “seeks harmony between the symmetrical nature of the potter's wheel and ordered organic fluidity,” is most striking in that most of the pieces are unglazed.”As a ceramic artist, my focus is on the fetishized surface of form,” said Moore. “The decision to leave the vessels unglazed is in direct relationship to this fetish finish.”

Believing that the mark of the tool, in this case, the artist's hand, are important defining characteristics of his pieces, Moore knew a glaze would either cover up or highlight those characteristics. “I (seek) a middle ground that is less overpowering,” he explained. “Slow and methodical decisions as a maker are in line with my desire to simplify the complex and eliminate the superfluous.”

Last Friday evening's opening of Moore's work drew a large crowd that included many of the artist's family members including his mother, Pam Moore, aunt, Laurie Peery and grandmother, Diane Robertson. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Jessica Armendriz, Moore greeted longtime friends Dante and Ashley Fontana and supporters that included Creative Arts Center co-founder Claude Hulce, local artist Pete Graziano and his wife, Laney, the notable pottery artist and instructor Michael Hirsh, and the center's director, Frances Santistevan.

Robert Moore's Light and Dark exhibit will run through Jan. 28 at the Creative Arts Center that is located at 1100 West Clark Avenue in George Izay Park.


DAVID LAURELL can be reached by e-mail dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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