Ralph Bacerra Essay

Ralph Bacerra Essay

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Ralph Bacerra attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angelas. Although his original intention was to become a graphic designer, his career path changed after taking a class with Vivika Heino (Stewart, 2008). Heino was the lead ceramics teacher at Chouinard and it was under her instruction that Bacerra found his love for ceramics. Heino was very influential in her use of glazes and inspired Bacerra to experiment and branch out in regards to his glazing methods. After a brief tour in the military Bacerra traveled to China and Japan where he was greatly influenced by the style and glazing techniques of the East. Bacerra went back to Chouinard where he taught for eight years and served as chairman of the ceramics department and later served the same position at Otis College of Art and Design (Bacerra, 2004).
Bacerra uses very distinctive geometric elements in his ceramic pieces. Bacerra’s pieces incorporate stripes of shifting background hues, twisting lines, with interlocking cubes and cones with cylinders and other geometric volumes (Lloyd, 2010; Clothier, 2012). At first glance Bacerra’s pieces seem to have odds and ends jutting out in peculiar and random ways. However, when one takes a closer look, all of the shapes and lines work together in a simple and elegant way. Many of his pieces have a mixture of both organic and mechanical elements. He uses organic shell-like circles and smooth, almost melted looking lines along with defined geometric squares, triangles, and circles giving his work a distinct abstract look. Bacerra uses a wide range of color in his pieces but sticks mostly with a bluish-green palate with hints of gold. Many of his pieces are comprised of different shades and values of blue and green (sometimes purple ...


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...il 7-19). Interview by F Lloyd [Audio Tape Recording]. Oral history
interview with ralph bacerra. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. , Retrieved from http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-ralph-bacerra-12942
Clothier, P. (2012). Ralph bacerra. American Ceramics, Retrieved from
http://www.peterclothier.com/ralph-bacerra.html
Hamer, F., & Hamer, J. (2004). The potter's dictionary of materials and techniques. (5 ed.).
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Lloyd, F. (2010). Ralph bacerra. Retrieved from
http://www.franklloyd.com/dynamic/artist_bio.asp?ArtistID=1
Jenyns, S. (1971). Japanese pottery. London, England: Praeger Publishers.
Stewart, J. Y. (2008, June 13). Ceramic artist famed for use of patterns. Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/13/local/me-bacerra13

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