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Robert Hudson: Ceramic Sculpture and Drawings 1970–2022

Apr 20 — Jun 8, 2024

Robert Hudson: Ceramic Sculpture and Drawings 1970-2022

April 20 – June 8, 2024
Opening reception: Saturday, April 20th, 3–5pm

Paul Thiebaud Gallery, in association with Brian Gross Fine Art, is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Hudson: Ceramic Sculpture and Drawings 1970-2022 on Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 3–5pm. On view will be 14 ceramic sculptures dating from the early 1970s to the early 2000s and a selection of drawings dating from the same period up to more recently. Singled out for his painted, assembled steel sculptures while still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Hudson has brought the same ethos of combining found forms and intricately painting their surfaces to his works in porcelain and paper, creating works that balance form, void, and illusion in their construction. The exhibition will be on view through June 8, 2024.

Having garnered national attention and critical acclaim for his polychromed, welded steel sculptures in the 1960s, Robert Hudson began making ceramic sculpture in the early 1970s as a way to explore sculptural ideas in a new medium. Invited by his close friend, ceramic artist Richard Shaw, to work alongside him in his Stinson beach studio in the fall of 1971, Hudson began making molds of found objects the two had collected at local junk stores and the land around them. These included logs, rocks, drinking tumblers, duck decoys, balls, and other items. Once these had been cast in clay, Hudson began assembling the pieces into sculptures reminiscent of his steel pieces. Among the works made over the next three years of production are Untitled (teapot with spiral), 1972, Bottle (with goose), c. 1973, and Untitled (with shell), 1974. While Shaw and Hudson worked alongside each other and used the same molds for elements in their respective works, Hudson’s and Shaw’s sculptures are distinct in sensibility and execution from each other.

The works from the late 1990s and early 2000s see the inclusion of found materials, such as pieces of wood and twigs, cork stoppers, steel chain, rubber tires, among others, on the ceramic forms, connecting them with developments in his other sculptural works. Examples of this include Jar with Wheel and Bottle with Chain, both from 2002, and Untitled (bottle with stick and wheel), from 2000. Alongside his sculptures, the exhibition will feature a selection of drawings dating from the 1970s to the early 2020s, illustrating Hudson’s skill at combining disparate visual elements into a unified whole on paper and his mastery of collage.

Born in Salt Lake City, Robert Hudson was raised in Richland, Washington, where he became close friends with fellow artists William Allan and William T. Wiley, eventually following them to the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) where he earned both his BFA (1961) and MFA (1963). He has taught sculpture at SFAI, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts). He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the 1965 Nealie Sullivan Award at SFAI; a 1972 Individual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; a 1976 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; and the 2014 Lee Krasner Award in recognition of a lifetime of artistic achievement.

Robert Hudson’s sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and drawings have been exhibited extensively across the United States and abroad, and were the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1985, which later travelled to the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Art Museum at Florida International University, Miami; and the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, CA. His works can be found in numerous public collections, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D. C.; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D. C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Oakland Museum of California, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley; Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, CA; Anderson Collection at Stanford University, CA; Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis; and the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, CA, among many others.

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