Robert Arneson was greatly influenced by the expressionist work of fellow Californian Peter Voulkos. This influence stimulated Arneson to be more adventurous and to break through previously established sculptural boundaries. Arneson rejected the idea that ceramic artists produce only utilitarian or decorative items. He began creating non-functional clay pieces, contradicting the more formal traditions previously associated with this medium. He created a number of self-portraits using photographs, mirrors, and drawings; each one seemed to reveal a new identity. Although by definition self-referential, the ironic and humorous self-portraits were used as vehicles to present universal concepts and feelings. Arneson was part of the dynamic group of irreverent California Pop artists whose work has come to be known as “Funk Art.”
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- Robert Arneson: A Retrospective
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