Silver Splendor: The Works of Anna Silver examines over fifty years of studio work and tracks the creative evolution of Silver from her origins to her current role as a beacon of painterly aesthetics in the field of modern and contemporary art. This exhibition will bring together over seventy works, including recent works in glass, and rarely seen preparatory drawings.
Celebrated for her vibrant and multi-layered abstract paintings on clay, Silver continues the Abstract Expressionist tradition of non-objective mark making, spontaneity, and emotive use of color. Silver’s process, however, is more intuition than improvisation. She applies her glazes with measured physicality, skillfully coaxing bold, gestural drawings to float against backdrops of luminous pigment. Silver is also inspired by her love of classical music, evident in the arias which she plays at full volume while working in the studio. And like a well-composed orchestration, all parts are in tune: her glaze painting is fluid yet precise, her palette extends the full range of tones, and her abstractions dance around their wares, creating syncopated visual sensations.
Anna Silver (b. 1928) pursued painting from an early age, studying with painting masters Ferdinand Leger, Herb Jepson, John Altoon, Joyce Thiemann, and Martin Lubner. From these mentors, she learned the materiality of paint; compositional structure; the interplay of pattern, figuration, and abstraction; color associations; and confidence. In the beginning, Silver explored the use of a variety of materials and gravitated to painting on canvas and paper. By the mid-1970s, a ceramics class prompted her to leap into the dimensional space of clay sculpture – a space Silver has occupied for the last forty years, choosing the clay vessel as her primary vehicle of aesthetic expression. She felt then, as she does today, the pursuit of abstract painting on ceramic forms to be an “infinite adventure.”
Throughout her career, Silver has explored the relationship of surface painting through the traditional lexicon of functional forms. Cups and saucers, bowls, teapots, vases, and plates have been Silver’s objects of choice, and her output has been varied and prodigious. Recently Silver has added ceramic totem sculptures and slumped glass platters to her vocabulary. As Garth Clark aptly stated: “Anna is pushing the form and painting as far as you can take it.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.