Wild & Crazy Animals

Wild & Crazy Animals

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Earthenware jar by Ron Meyers at Works Gallery in Philadelphia.

Works Gallery
Ron Meyers
May 2-June 15, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Making functional pottery has never been a problem for Ron Meyers, whose most recent clay works are on view at Works Gallery. "I have never felt the need to dismiss or disregard the concept of function because it was something less than art," he says. "I have never found making useful pieces confining or restrictive. In fact, I find the opposite to be true."

Using red earthenware, Meyers, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia who for nearly 40 years has taught, lectured and exhibited nationally and abroad, creates one-of-a-kind platters, covered jars, bottles and the like in a casual, spontaneous manner that he hopes reflects "the juiciness of the material as well as the pleasure of the process." His works are wheel-thrown, but he may alter them to achieve a less perfect shape. The loose, gestural aspects of his forms are matched by their expressionistic surfaces: narrative colored slip paintings or drawings directly etched in the clay, depicting animals and sometimes humans rendered in a vein "meant to be humorous, provocative and confrontational"-they are never merely cute. The clay is Meyers's "canvas" and he fills the space energetically. "The pieces I'm most pleased with," he says, "are those that come closest to integrating the form and surface, the spontaneity and fluidity of the clay along with the object's use."

The longer Meyers stays involved with his métier, "the more possibilities there are that seem to present themselves," he says. "Along with the functional aspects of a piece, I strive to have the end product reflect my own sensitivity to the material itself and its traditions."