Northern California has long been home to artistic innovation and pioneering movements. In the 1960s, artists radically rethought traditional approaches to clay at a time and place characterized by political activism and upheaval. During this time of change, artists not only reimagined vessel-based forms, but they also raised clay from a craft to fine art. In the process, they often infused their sculptures with humor and political satire, breaking high art taboos along the way in a way not dissimilar to the approach of their Dada predecessors. In this tradition, Richard Shaw and Wanxin Zhang have been producing revolutionary works in clay, often packing a serious punch under a comic façade.
Richard Shaw and Wanxin Zhang brings the recent work of these two giants of Bay Area clay, focusing on their explorations of the cultural exchange between China and the West. Although the two men are a generation apart and their work differs stylistically, their message and means are similar: both use humor and satire in seamless reference to global history, popular culture, and personal experience.
Images courtesy of the artist and Catherine Clark Gallery, San Francisco and Alice Shaw
Exhibition supported by Sonoma Tourism Improvement District