Entertainment & Arts

Review: Morgan Peck’s hand-held haiku in clay captivates

Morgan Peck sculptures
Two “Small Black Sculptures” in glazed stoneware by Morgan Peck.
(pingpongpaw / Jancar Jones Gallery)

Morgan Peck’s ceramic sculptures at Jancar Jones are modest in scale and hardly radical in reach, but there’s something fearless and free about them that is deeply appealing. Two unglazed stoneware pillars (16 and 17 inches tall) stand at just the slightest tilt, with eager but reticent authority, like kids in superhero costumes.

“Large White Sculpture” is built, like many of the tabletop works, from stacked, three-dimensional geometric shapes, most of them open on one side. The square atop the circle atop the rectangle hint at a human figure, a jolly snowman leaning back in laughter. The work is not silly but rather whimsical, playful.

Peck, who lives and works in L.A., makes her curiosity felt. She sketches with minimalist building-blocks, coating them in uneven, monochrome glazes. The forms are fixed, but feel provisional.

A group of vases, tall and tapered with wavy or looping handles, brings to mind ancient urns, via Betty Woodman and the Memphis group.


The most affecting pieces in the show are the smallest, a series of miniature, David-Smith-like drawings in space, glazed in black with a slight metallic sheen. Most measure just a few inches per side, and recirculate a nuclear family of elements: arch, crescent, half-moon, circle, bar. The shapes nest, balance, prop and rest, with the simplicity and grace of hand-held haiku.

Jancar Jones Gallery, 1031 N. Broadway, through July 19. Closed Sunday through Wednesday.

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter

Get the day's top stories on Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.