Jim Melchert: Listen, an incubator for thought

19 June - 19 September 2015
Paul Kotula Projects is pleased to present Jim Melchert: Listen, an incubator for thought.

In 1981, between administrative roles as the Visual Arts Director for the National Endowment for the Arts (1977 - 1981) and Director of the American Academy of Rome (1984-1988), Jim Melchert traveled to Cairo. There he experienced a vast wall of tile that at one moment read as a flash of light. It transformed his ideas of fixity and transcience and inspired him to return to ceramics as his primary medium (he had previously been working with film projections and performance art). His extensive exploration of tile that distinguishes his late work begins then.

This small, tightly curated exhibition, brings together ten works of tile and positions them with three iconic works: Leg Pot 1, 1962; Changes, 1972; Listen, 1968 and and his expansive 'a' series from 1969/70.  Documentation of these early works and multiple textual records allow the viewer to enter the genius of this artist whose path has always been conceptual.

Jim Melchert is one of the pioneers of the American contemporary ceramics movement and a leading figure in the San Francisco Bay Area art community.  He was the first graduate student of Peter Voulkos' at the University of California, Berkeley where Melchert later taught until 1992. Spanning the mediums of ceramics, drawing, sculpture, and installation and performance art, his work has been exhibited extensively throughout the world and it is included in such prestigious collections as Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; World Ceramic Center, Icheon, Korea; Museum of Art & Design, New York; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The diRosa, Napa, CA and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.  Melchert lives and works in Oakland, CA.