Lois Lambert Gallery: David Furman “Figures of Speech”

Lois Lambert Gallery presents “Figures of Speech,” the ceramic work of David Furman. Furman creates impeccably crafted scenarios of figurative mannequins that reveal a universal understanding of body language. Anchored to a sofa, couch, or table and chairs, these figurative forms show a diverse range of human emotion and investigate the depths of non-verbal communication. An opening reception will be held September 6th from  6-9 PM. The exhibition will be on view through November 9th, 2014.

Furman’s figures are inspired by his personal interest in intimacy and exploring the dynamics of human interaction. These figures are taken from traditionally used wooden art mannequins and are amorphous and androgynous except for the subtle distinction of breasts on the female. He breathes life into the inanimate human figures through subtle positioning, which is not a usual concern for those utilizing “art icons.” David conveys a rich and diverse range of emotions, including desire itself. He makes ephemeral emotions tangible to the viewer so one can draw personal connections to the pieces.

David considers himself a storyteller and this collection continues the narrative by offering a shared vocabulary of human emotion, and allowing the viewer to “fill in the blanks.” Each person brings a unique history of relationships, or “baggage,” as David refers to it. The interpretation varies from viewer to viewer.

David made plaster molds of each of the male/female wooden mannequins, a process that took two months before the ceramic casting process could begin. The decisions he made as he joined the individual slip cast parts gives meaning and content to the work. When the clay figures are joined, the bond is permanent and cannot be moved around or altered. David builds two or more figures together, envisioning them as one entity within context. The piece entitled “Lost Heart” depicts a man sitting hunched over a table and a woman standing behind him offering comfort by putting her hands on his head. This is an example of the way in which David projects emotion onto the figures in a way that is relatable, yet open to interpretation.

David Furman was Professor Emeritus at two of the Claremont Colleges in southern California, where he taught for 35 years, and occupied the Peter and Gloria Gold Endowed Chair from 2004 to 2007. He has had 47 one person shows and his art work has been exhibited in more than 500 invitational and group exhibitions around the world. He has delivered over 150 public lectures and workshops at colleges, universities, and museum venues in the United States and internationally. Furman’s work has been included in public exhibitions; a selection of which includes: the Whitney Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the American Museum of Ceramic Art, the Yixing International Ceramics Museum in Yixing, China, the United States Embassy in Lima, Peru, Brand Library and Art Center in Los Angeles, and the Security Pacific National Bank Corporate Collection.

He’s received 3 National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1975, 1986, 1996), and 3 Fulbright fellowships (1979, 1990, 2000), most recently to Peru, where he was involved in a tile mural learning service project with an impoverished immigrant community on the edge of Lima. In 1995 he received the Irvine Foundation Enterprise Fellowship and in 2001 he received the Getty Foundation Fellowship for Service Learning in the Arts. In 2005 his artwork was awarded the Silver Medal at the 3rd World Ceramic Biennale in Icheon, Korea. In August of 2007 he was the U.S. State Dept. Cultural Envoy to Honduras, where he worked with disadvantaged children, taught at the National School of Fine Arts and juried the 9th Honduras Biennale of Ceramics and Sculpture. In 2009 the Pasadena Art Alliance funded the publishing of The Artist Is in the Details, The Ceramic Art of David Furman, a full-color retrospective book documenting Furman’s artwork. In November 2011 he was the keynote speaker at the California Art Educators Association’s annual conference and was elected to the International Academy of Ceramics.

Lois Lambert Gallery
Gallery of Functional Art
2525 Michigan Avenue E3
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310.829.6990 (Phone)

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