Ron Nagle


Beautifully produced and scarcely seen catalogue published on the occasion of Californian artist Ron Nagle’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2015, Chewing Gum Monuments.

In Chewing Gum Monuments, Nagle created an installation with more than 20 new sculptures and a series of recent drawings. The works combine the perfection that comes with 40 years of experience with the immediacy of a well-composed song. All works in the exhibition are reproduced throughout this book in full-colour, large reproductions.

Although small in size, Nagle’s objects have a monumental presence. Since the 1970s he has worked on an idiosyncratic oeuvre that helped to propel traditional studio ceramics into the arena of fine art. He has united two seemingly irreconcilable worlds: abstraction and the traditional cup form.

Nagle uses a carefully chosen palette of paints and glazes, which are meticulously applied, often in several layers. The finish matches the transcendent beauty of 16th-century Momoyama ceramics even if the day-glo accents and matte spray paints reinforce the objects’ contemporary character. Nagle’s roots are in California’s hot-rod culture and his attraction to the “Finish Fetishism” of the West Coast art scene.

In addition to the sculptures, the museum also exhibited several of Nagle’s drawings. In recent years drawing has become a substantial part of his artistic practice. The direct expression afforded by drawing inspires him to explore new directions. Nagle makes the drawings in the evening, after a day of working in the ceramic studio, while watching endless reruns of his favourite Charlie Chan episodes. The iterative act induces a state of peripheral cognition in which the drawings “flow” automatically. Nagle considers these drawings flat sculptures in which the black lines of the graphite, the cloudy white paint and the gold glimmers express an instant beauty: the quality he strives for in his three-dimensional work. These works are also reproduced in full here.

Also includes texts, biography and bibliography.

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Ron Nagle - Chewing Gum Monuments
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