The Silver Lake Art Collective

A Reservoir of Artistic Diversity in Los Angeles



Stoneware Bowl
17" diameter
Lee Whitten
323-665-6782 (fax)

After many years of teaching art history and ceramics at L.A. City College, I have a chance now to focus on ceramics, especially high-fire stoneware and porcelain.

As a  headstrong young graduate student  I rebelled against my professors who had been instrumental in the postwar revival of ceramics, but who were rooted in a craft tradition I saw as hidebound. Meanwhile, new movements in clay, especially in Southern California, were overthrowing that tradition. So I made abstract expressionist pots, figurative sculptural pots, anti-pots, and finally, pieces, not pots.

Serious study of and then teaching art history put me in museums in front of ancient pots from Asia, Europe, Africa,and the Americas that could hold their own with the painting and sculpture surrounding them  . I've had to think it over.  What would it mean for a simple bowl to carry the presence and meaning of sculptural form? Over time, my love and respect for the ceramic medium has grown. I have given my early professors their due, though I still think their views were somewhat narrow. The bowls I make now though, sure look a lot like theirs.

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