128
128

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION

Ken Price
LOWLY
Estimate
150,000200,000
JUMP TO LOT
128

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION

Ken Price
LOWLY
Estimate
150,000200,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Ken Price
1935 - 2012
LOWLY
acrylic on vitrified ceramic
10 by 17 by 12 in. 25.4 by 43.2 by 30.5 cm.
Executed in 2004.
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Provenance

LA Louver, Venice
Acquired from the above by the present owner in October 2006

Catalogue Note

Sensual, voluptuous, enchanting and other-worldly, Ken Price's Lowly is an exceptional example of the artist's late sculptures and demonstrates his complete mastery and advancement of the centuries-old tradition of ceramics. For nearly 60 years, Price worked within the precarious intersection of craft and fine art. Though often compared to his mentor, pioneering West Coast ceramicist Peter Voulkos, or other American post-war artists such as Donald Judd, John Chamberlain, H.C. Westermann and Larry Bell, it is clear that Price forged his own path, championing form, surface, scale and, above all, color. Each decade brought about a new stylistic direction for Price's sculptures, and with each one, Price revolutionized the application of color to a surface in unexpected yet intimate and glorious ways. 

Executed in 2004, Lowly is kaleidoscopic in both color and form and its bulbous, undulating body appears to have been generously poured from above by chance rather than painstakingly molded by hand. In describing Price's labor-intensive painting practice, Stephanie Barron writes: "Each color is applied in five coats before the next one is added, and a given sculpture might embody as many as fifteen different colors—a total of seventy-five layers of thin acrylic paint. Black is always the first layer, as it creates the dark defining circles that surround small areas of color" (Stephanie Barron, "Lumps, Bumps, Grooves and Curves: Fifty Years of Ken Price Sculpture" in Exh. Cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, 2012, p. 34). The final monochromatic surface is then meticulously sanded down to reveal glimpses of the vibrant underlying layers "like a pointillist painting or even a Chuck Close canvas" that achieves the visual sensation of depth and complexity on a perfectly smooth surface (Ibid., p. 35). This process is evident in Lowly: the sky-blue shell glows with speckled, granular hints of cherry red, electric pinks, neon greens and deep-sea blues. A summation of Ken Price's entire body of work, Lowly appears to be a celestial nebula or molten lava rock that straddles the boundaries between stiff and malleable, inanimate and alive. 

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York