Serendipity: Paul Soldner, Artist and Provocateur

In honor of Paul Soldner (1921-2011), Emeritus Professor of Ceramics at Scripps for more than three decades, until his retirement in 1991, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery presents the exhibition “Paul Soldner At Scripps.” The exhibition will illuminate his creative life as an artist and teacher, featuring many works he made at Scripps, when he […]

Paul Soldner with brush

Opening Reception: September 10 from 7 to 9 pm

Innovator, artist, inventor, teacher. These are only a few words that describe Paul Soldner. In honor of Paul Soldner (1921–2011), emeritus professor of ceramics at Scripps College for more than three decades, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery presents Serendipity: Paul Soldner, Artist and Provocateur. The exhibition, on view from August 27 through December 11, 2011, will illuminate his creative life as an artist and teacher, featuring many works he made at Scripps, where he developed his distinctive approaches to raku and salt-fired ceramics. In addition to vessels, the exhibition will explore other aspects of his work, including wall pieces and monoprints, which demonstrate Soldner’s lesser-known but lively commentary on popular culture. Videos demonstrating different perspectives of Soldner will also be on view. Workshops devoted to Soldner’s special areas of expertise – raku, bonsai, and brush making – will accompany the exhibition. The opening reception, with live music and light refreshments, will take place at the Williamson Gallery on September 10, from 7–9 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Much is known of Paul Soldner’s life in working with ceramics. Developed after his return from WWII, Soldner’s philosophy on clay came into its own when he was Peter Voulkos’ first student at the Los Angeles County Art Institute in the mid 1950s. Voulkos, as Dr. Mary MacNaughton, director of the Williamson Gallery, commented, is one of the “artists [who] were catalysts for a definitive shift in the way ceramics were understood,” from craft to art. Voulkos, along with artists John Mason and Ken Price, will be showcased in the exhibition, Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968, opening in January as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative. It was Voulkos who taught Soldner to embrace innovation and experimentation and subsequently influenced Soldner’s teaching style: instruct by example and not by rule.

Soldner’s fascination with refusal to place limitations on clay transformed him into a pioneer, leading him to champion American raku, a low-fire fast-fire process based on Japanese raku. Soldner’s take on raku embodies his life-long ambition to challenge the conventional and break away from established standards. As he said: “In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown. Make no demands, expect nothing, follow no absolute plan, be secure in change, learn to accept another solution and, finally, prefer to gamble on your own intuition.”

“Serendipity” evokes a sense of the multifaceted Paul Solder. His work in ceramics is world-renowned, yet less is known of Soldner’s interests and work in monoprints, advertising, brush making, and bonsai. The exhibition intends to showcase these interests and provide visitors with different sides of Soldner rarely seen in order to give them a more complete vision of who Paul Soldner was and how his interests and work often came together.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is located at Eleventh Street and Columbia Avenue, adjacent to Baxter Hall. During exhibitions, the gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Wednesday through Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, please contact the gallery at (909) 607-3397. (For more information on the raku, bonsai, and brush making workshops, please contact Registrar and Collections Manager Kirk Delman at kdelman@scrippscollege.edu)

GLENN GRISHKOFF BRUSH MAKING WORKSHOP

SEPTEMBER 23, 6 pm to 9 pm
SEPTEMBER 24, 9 am to 4 pm
$55.00 including materials

Williamson Gallery, Scripps College: Glenn GrishkoffLearn how to make splendid handmade brushes that are works of art and functional tools.  This course is open to all levels with in-depth step-by-step instruction of beginning through advanced brush making and painting techniques.  Several types of brushes will be introduced each day of the workshop utilizing a different hair and construction methods. Brushes created may be used to decorate ceramics as well as watercolor, sumi mark making, calligraphy, acrylic and oil painting surfaces. There will be slide lectures and in-depth demonstrations illustrating the technical construction methods involved in making brushes, including cutting and wrapping of hair, knot tying, use of epoxy and methods to create and finish brush handles.  Students will work with a variety of hairs, including buck tail hair, moose hair, horse hair, rooster hackle, broom corn straw and additional types of hairs.

In addition to brush making, Grishkoff will present multiple demonstrations on how handmade brushes can be used to create dynamic one-of-a-kind marks on ceramic and paper surfaces.  Participants are encouraged to collect a variety of materials they can bring into the workshop to make brushes.

For more information or to sign-up, please call Kirk Delman at (909) 607-3397.

ONE DAY BONSAI WORKSHOP WITH ROY NAGATOSHI

OCTOBER 16, 9am to 3:30pm
(Bring lunch for a noon break.)
$120.00 including materials

Create your own bonsai in this one-day class designed for the beginner.

Roy Nagatoshi (with his father Shigeru) owns Fuji Bonsai Nursery in Sylmar, outside of Los Angeles, California. Roy became involved in bonsai in 1959, and by 1968 both Roy and his father were teaching at their nursery. Roy holds a Bachelor Degree in ornamental Horticulture, and makes frequent appearances, teaching and demonstrating bonsai all over the U.S.

You will learn the horticultural, aesthetic, and cultural elements of bonsai and then apply your new knowledge during the hands-on workshop. This workshop is geared to helping the participants improve the health and appearance of their trees and therefore it is of benefit to both beginner and experienced bonsai enthusiasts.

All necessary materials, including plant, pot, soil, and wire are provided, and some tools will be available. Please bring tools if you have them. At home, your tree will need a sunny outdoor spot. Bring lunch for a noon break. Class sizes are limited and spots fill quickly, so register today! Pre-registration and payment is required to hold your reservation.

For more information or to sign-up, please call Kirk Delman at (909) 607-3397.

RAKU WORKSHOP

WITH KEVIN MYERS AND T ROBERT

 

 

Paul Soldner, Vessel, 1966

 

 

November 12, 10 am – 7 pm

$55.00 includes all materials

 

Experience the excitement and drama of American raku, a low-fire, fast-fire process  of creating ceramics based on Japanese raku. You’ll participate in glazing your work, firing it, and seeing it smolder and hiss in the transformation to a finished ceramic piece: all in one day!  And you will leave with a completed work. Paul Soldner, longtime ceramics professor at Scripps, championed American raku. This workshop is part of a semester-long exhibition of Solder’s work and life at the Williamson Gallery.

The workshop is open to beginners as well as those who are already familiar with the technique.

All materials will be provided. Bring lunch for a noon break.

To further inspire you,  the workshop will include a tour of the exhibition at the Williamson, SERENDIPITY: Paul Soldner Artist and Provocateur, as well as a tour of the Marer Collection of Contemporary ceramics – one of the finest collections of contemporary ceramics in the world. The Marer Collection can normally be seen only by appointment.

After you’ve experienced the sheer excitement and speed of raku, you’ll  see why Soldner said:

“In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown. Make no demands, expect nothing, follow no absolute plan, be secure in change, learn to accept another solution and, finally, prefer to gamble on your own intuition.”

Space is limited, payment is required to hold your place in the workshop. $55.00 includes all materials. For more information, or to register, please contact Kirk Delman at 909 607 3397 or kdelman@scrippscollege.edu

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