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Ron Nagle

American, b. 1939

Night and Day, Saki Set
1989

Earthenware
2.25 x 3 x 1.75 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation with matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts
1990.4

Ron Nagel has dedicated his career to an intensive examination of the form of the cup. Night and Day, Saki Set incorporates the elements he is best known for: intimate scale, vibrant color, and significant attention to surface. This saki set plays with and comments on the social and cultural meaning of the cup. By embracing an intimate scale, Nagle acknowledges the ceremonial aspect of consuming saki. The surface design and bold yet simple colors of these cups are reminiscent of Josef Albers’s Homage to the Square—a series of experiments exploring color using solid square blocks. Nagle applies the glaze in a painterly fashion, with layer upon layer creating the saturated colors. This deep consideration of the surface and texture of Night and Day is a nod to the California Finish Fetish movement of the 1960s.

Ron Nagle received his BFA from San Francisco State University in 1961. He was hired by Peter Voulkos as a studio assistant at the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he taught at institutions in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Art Institute, the California College of Arts and Crafts, and California State University, Hayward. In 1978, Nagle took over the prominent ceramics program at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he remained until his retirement in 2010.

Matthew Limb


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  • black
  • blue
  • iridescence - Optical property in which fine colors are produced on a surface by the interference of light that is reflected from both the front and back of a thin film. Things that appear iridescent show rainbow-like luminous colors, and often change color as their positions change.
  • night - The period between sunset and sunrise, especially the hours of darkness.
  • purple

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