Ken Price (’57), deceased 2012, combines sensuous, bio-morphic forms with a striking use of color to make otherworldly objects that morph between pure abstraction and figurative illusion. He molded each sculpture by hand in clay, and fires it in a slow kiln. Once cured, the form is covered with numerous layers of acrylic paint in a complex palette. Frequently, the final color is iridescent, which gives the surface an alluring sheen. When the paint application is complete, Price sanded the form, removing the clay’s fine granules and revealing the buried layers of color.
Price graduated from the University of Southern California in 1956, with a degree in art. He then spent a year studying with the renowned clay master Peter Voulkos at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). First exhibiting at the legendary Ferus Gallery in 1960, Price had a distinguished career showing his sculpture in both private galleries and throughout the world, including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Menil Collection and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Louisiana Museum, Denmark. Public collections include the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art; Carnegie Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; the National Gallery of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Art Institute of Chicago, LACMA and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He had ten solo exhibitions in Los Angeles at L.A. Louver.