Skip to content

Ron Nagle

Ice Breaker

January 21 - April 8, 2017
1062 North Orange Grove
Opening Saturday, January 21, 3 – 5 PM

Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Ron Nagle: Ice Breaker, the next exhibition in his gallery at 1062 North Orange Grove. With nineteen new sculptures and a selection of new drawings, this is Nagle’s largest Los Angeles exhibition to date.

The sculptures, all from 2016, are presented in niches and glass vitrines designed in collaboration with the artist. The vitrines display sculptures with titles such as Historical Land Mind and Sandmandia, which are meant to be seen from above or in the round, while the niches present several works, including Elusive Combinations and Glorious Assemblage, whose branch-like forms and scroll-like bases evoke the art of bonsai. Although several sculptures employ crackle glaze and other nods to traditional pottery, the works in this exhibition are notable for the wide range of effects achieved with such contemporary materials as epoxy resin, catalyzed polyurethane, and high-gloss automotive paint mixed to the artist’s specifications and applied with an airbrush.

Nagle has referred to these works as three-dimensional paintings. Most can be read as either still lifes or miniature landscapes, and all are composed with the same formal considerations of color, texture, and proportion. Among his primary aesthetic influences, Nagle cites shibui, the Japanese notion of simplicity balanced with complexity. He has also spoken of his experiences with San Francisco’s hot-rod culture of the 1960s and the connection he feels to the art of Ken Price and Billy Al Bengston, both of whose work he first encountered at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

Nagle was born in San Francisco in 1939 and began working with ceramics during the 1950s as a high school student. In 1961 he apprenticed to Peter Voulkos and later exhibited his work alongside Voulkos, Price, and other innovative West Coast artists working in clay. His first one-person exhibition took place in 1968, and since then his work has been shown at numerous museums, including one-person exhibitions at 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. He lives and works in San Francisco.

Ron Nagle: Ice Breaker is on view at 1062 North Orange Grove from January 21 to April 8, 2017, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

For additional information, please contact Helen Brown at 323-654-1830 or

Download Press Release (PDF 123 K)