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David Furman

American, b. 1945

A Hard Day's Work

6 x 10.75 x 13 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

David Furman creates hyperrealistic and trompe l’oeil sculptures of ordinary items that provoke the illusion of seeing actual objects in the world, such as the toolbox in A Hard Day’s Work. In fact, each object is skillfully crafted in low-fire ball-and-talc clay. Along with carefully crafted forms and textures, Furman uses underglazes, glazes, lusters, and enamels to help foster the illusions. He says this ceramic tool box is an homage to his artist grandfather, Jacob, from whom he inherited his craftsman’s gene, and probably his obsessive tendencies. “On any given day, what garage, studio, or workshop does not have a pile of well-used tools on the workbench, waiting to be used or put away?”

Born in Seattle, David Furman attended the University of Oregon in Portland, where he received his BA in 1969, and the University of Washington for his MFA in 1972. He was professor of art at both Pitzer College (1973
2007) and Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. In 1975 he was visiting professor of art at both Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, and California State University, Los Angeles, in 1976. His repertoire is vast: miniature room vignettes, small-scale contemporary ruins, trompe l’oeil works, composite-vegetable teapots and wooden-mannequin-based scenarios displaying human emotions. For more than forty years, Furman has expressed his ideas, experiences, and perceptions in clay through irony, empathy, and humor.

Billie Sessions, PhD

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