West Coast Funk
Funk is a movement associated with western USA, notably California.
Its roots date back to Pop Art and Dada. Since the 1960s there has
been a steady following of artists emerging from that state and
even other countries around the world.
Funk ceramics (funk being a term coined by art historian Peter
Selz to denote sf bay area art of the sixties for a show organised
at UC Berkeley Art Museum and at Boston Contemporary in the 60s)
was born specifically at UCDavis around 1965 and whose first proponants
were Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, Peter Vandenberge, Chris Unterseher
and Margaret Dodd.1
repertoire includes works which fall under the headings of Kinetic
Dr's Laboratory, Animal
Sculptures and other
titles. The work is characterised by the caricature of man,
beast and the ceramic object itself, with a strong dash of satire
added for good measure. A good example of this is the Burping
Bowl, one of a series of "kinetic hydro-pneumatic objects"
that "emits a loud belching sound"...
work is more figurative, but also quite satirical. His Downtown
Plaza Sculptures take an amusing look at suburban shopping
centre culture, while other works, e.g. his
Lifesize Figures, critically analyze different aspects of
David Gilhooly hates
clay, and also has a fascination with food excesses, which
are expressed and interpreted in his Dagwood
Sandwich (which stands over a meter tall) or his Excessive
Sundae. His latest works include a range of assemblages
- framed mixed media hybrids between sculpture and painting.
West Coast Funk
is not only to be found in California, or the USA for that matter.
Irving is an Australian ceramic artist from Melbourne, with
a streak of West Coast Funk in her veins. Apropriating well-known
national and international icons such as Van
Gogh or Fiorucci,
her works reinterpret those themes in a light hearted manner.
Pamela's bronze dog Larry
La Trobe, who adorned the city square was once abducted,
never to be seen again. No-one claimed resonsibility and there was
no ransom note, however we can't be sure what went on behind the
scenes. Larry La Trobe has been recreated and again adorns the main
street in Melbourne.