Function, Form, and Fantasy: Ceramics from the Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger Collection
May 7, 2016 - August 14, 2016
Drawn from the collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger, this exhibition offers a unique look at the recent history of ceramics—from the 1960s to the present day—highlighting the diversity of styles and intense creativity of expression in the medium of clay. Function, Form, and Fantasy is divided into three sections that survey the historic roots of ceramics as craft and examine the artistic and technical experimentation, along with social commentary, that ceramicists have explored.
Ceramics that are more traditional in form or shape will be explored, as will the artwork of ceramicists who used a more sculptural and fantastical approach. Many began with familiar shapes but manipulated the forms so that the original shape is no longer recognizable. While some ceramicists used this new freedom from function to push the possibilities of form, shape, and color, others ventured into figuration, narrative subject matter, and manipulation of historical and traditional forms.
The ceramics in Function, Form, and Fantasy range from bold, expressionistic forms to simple, elegant motifs, from sizes smaller than 3 inches tall to larger-than-life. Inspired by the beautiful forms, colors, and innovative techniques used by well-known ceramicists, including Peter Voulkos, Viola Frey, Adrian Saxe, and Patti Warashina, artworks in the exhibition are both thought-provoking and mysterious, blurring the lines between craft and fine art.
Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger have been collecting contemporary ceramic works of art since the 1970s. Mrs. Burger has ties to Flint, having enjoyed ceramic classes at the Flint Institute of Arts in her youth. Today, the Burgers reside in Florida and together have built an impressive art collection using the knowledge they have gained through studying and visiting exhibitions, galleries, studios, private collections, and taking studio classes. Since 2005, Dr. and Mrs. Burger have donated nearly 250 works of art to the FIA, including over 180 ceramic works and 40 works on paper.
From the Exhibition
Bennett Bean, American, b. 1941, Untitled, 2000, Earthenware, 12 x 11 x 6 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger
Carol Gouthro, American/Canadian, b. 1952, Aurlia gouthroii Barnaclette, 2012, Terracotta, 7 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 11 7/8 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger
Adrian Saxe, American, b. 1943, Torso Jar with Oryx Finial, 1985, Porcelain, Stoneware, Raku, 22 1/2 x 10 3/8 x 5 5/8 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger
Akio Takamori, Japanese, b. 1950, Karoko with Striped Kimono, 2005, Stoneware, 35 1/2 x 27 x 16 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger
Irina Zaytceva, Russian, Twins, 2013, Porcelain
10 3/4 x 7 1/4 x 3 5/8 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger
Viola Frey, American, 1933–2004, Answering Woman, 1988–89
Ceramic with glazes, 110 x 41 x 34 inches. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger. Art © Artists' Legacy Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY