Stan Bitters at Heath, SF
"Raw. Earthy. Heroic. Monumental. These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Stan Bitters, the maverick sculptor and ceramist who helped define modernist ceramics in California and shifted that form from a purely functional medium to an artistic one."
Stan Bitters: Modern Primitive
Sat. May 31, 6 – 8:30 pm at Heath San Francisco
This modernist maverick’s first show in 35 years comes to Heath Ceramics
Raw. Earthy. Heroic. Monumental. These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Stan Bitters, the maverick sculptor and ceramist who helped define modernist ceramics in California and shifted that form from a purely functional medium to an artistic one. This is Bitters’ first major show in 35 years – and the first time time he’s been showcased in San Francisco. True to his independent nature and his commitment to making art that's engaged with (rather than) separate from community, the show will be held in an untraditional venue: Heath Ceramics’ Boiler Room, an emerging venue for artistic and creative events.
The show is curated by Renee Zellweger of Summer School, an unconventional gallery and workshop space, which facilitates dialogue and inspiration in the creative community. The show kicks off on Saturday, May 31st at 6 pm with a reception celebrating Bitters and his work, from his monumental murals and wall installations (interior and exterior) to sculptural ceramics such as medallions, pots, lanterns and birdhouses.
Bitters was featured in the prestigious California Design series and at the Craft and Folk Art Museum as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 – 1980. He worked extensively with the legendary and influential ceramist, Peter Voulkos while at the Otis Art Institute in LA. His work is also a staple among collectors of modernist art and his influence has helped define Southern California architecture since the 1960s. He continues to work closely with architects such as LA's renowned Commune Design. In many ways, Bitters has been one of Southern California’s best kept secrets. For most of his career, Bitters has been kept busy by clients and commissions in Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
Heath and Bitters aim to expand his following with this show. “The Bay Area has a sophisticated, adventurous spirit that seems to thrive on cultural and artistic experimentation. I’m thrilled to introduce my work to the people there,” says Bitters. “It feels so natural to work with Heath, with its own history and its commitment to pushing the medium and creating a vibrant community of people who care about what we can say through art and design.” “We love Stan’s work, what he’s done for ceramics, and what he continues to do,” says Catherine Bailey, Heath’s Design Director. “His work really embodies so much of the California spirit. There’s also a deep kinship with the Heath legacy, with what we do now, and how we think about the intersection of art and creativity, and making and living. We’re excited to work with Summer School to share Stan’s work with the Heath community.”
all photos and text courtesy of Heath Ceramics.