Sculpture show opens in Pomona
Posted Sept. 14, 2007
Shelia DelCastillo
Gabby De La Cruz, an alumna of the University of La Verne, examines a suspended sculpture titled “The Ladies Pink” by Kathy Ruttenberg. The exhibition “Form and Imagination, Women and Ceramic Sculptors” at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona displays an arrangement of artwork by 15 female artists across the United States.

Fifteen esteemed artists from across the United States are displaying their ceramic artwork at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, from Sept. 8 to Nov. 24.

The common factor between these artists is that they are all women.

The exhibition is called “Form and Imagination, Women Ceramic Sculptors”. It’s the first all-women art exhibition to be held since AMOCA first opened its doors three years ago.

Museum director and curator Christy Johnson said “ past male -dominated exhibitions focused on the technical aspects of the works, such as glaze, clay, and how the pieces were made. ‘Form and Imagination’ is different because the focus and purpose is about ideas. What does the art say? What kind of feeling, message, or emotional response is the artist trying to communicate with each piece?”

The messages put forth are a reflection from the artist on the various roles of womanhood: being a mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife and even artist.

The figurative pieces are narrative in nature, as some artists convey a whimsical, even fantastical fairytale-like theme.

Others focus on some spiritual or sexual truth. And while all pieces conform to the material of ceramics, there are clear differences in textures, shapes and finishes between the works.

The thoughtful art of ceramic sculptor Linda Ganstrom reflects on long-held societal ideas of beauty.

Most of her works carry a slight fairytale theme, and then inject a feminine truth into the message.

One of her clever sculptures portrays a young Rapunzelesque woman in a tower, letting down her flowing hair upon a ladder resembling a strand of DNA.

“At some point in their lives, girls go into a tower mode, to learn. And at some point they have to leave. The DNA strand ladder reflects on the idea of youth and the beautiful traits found within. Most fairytales have a deeper meaning for women,” Ganstrom said.

Kathy Ruttenberg, another featured artist, takes a more ethereal approach to her art. She captures childhood, nature, whimsy, the fantastic and the (good) bizarre in each striking piece.

Ruttenberg’s works include a working chandelier made of delicate dolls and a charming forest girl whose skirt is made of stretched branches.

“Form and Imagination” at AMOCA is an exhibition that young, old, male and female will all enjoy and appreciate.

The goal of this exhibition is to answer the question of whether female artists bring a unique perspective to figurative sculpture.
Johnson believes they do.

The artwork surrounds the exhibit-goers with the reflective, emotional, and sometimes nostalgic works,

Johnson said, “You just look around and say, ‘I know a woman made this piece.’”

Bonnie Francis, 17, of Covina, reflected on the works she seen.

“The way they resemble something of femininity, women in society, enchantment and different aspects of women; the details were very nice,” she said.

For more information on “Form and Imagination” and other upcoming exhibits at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, visit www.ceramicmuseum.org.

Giselle Campbell can be reached at gcampbell@ulv.edu.

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