Ron Nagle is known for his intimately scaled sculptures, each made up of ceramic elements that are slip-cast, fired, and embellished with epoxy details. Some are glazed to a hot-rod finish, others textured like stucco and then airbrushed. Despite the work’s three-dimensionality, Nagle explains, “everything is done, even subconsciously, from a flat point of view.”
Nagle was born in San Francisco in 1939. He began working with ceramics during the 1950s as a high school student. In 1961 he apprenticed to Peter Voulkos at the University of California, Berkeley, and later exhibited his work alongside Voulkos, Ken Price, and other innovative West Coast artists working in clay. His work is inspired by such artists as Giorgio Morandi, Phillip Guston, and George Herriman, and by such varied forms as Japanese Momoyama ceramics and Hawaiian funerary monuments.
Ron Nagle’s first one-person exhibition took place in 1968, and since then he has had one-person exhibitions at numerous museums, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In 2013 his work was included in the exhibition The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale. Nagle is also a musician, and a deluxe edition of his acclaimed 1970 album Bad Rice was released on Omnivore Recordings in 2015. He lives and works in San Francisco.