Molten Blue-Green Crater Bowl, 2005.
James Lovera (American, 1920–2015)
Porcelain with copper oxide crater glaze over black vitreous slip, 4 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Gregory Baldock, 2009.27.4.

James Lovera’s special affinity for the bowl has resulted in a refined and elegant hemisphere. By concentrating on perfecting form, he has been able to unleash upon the “canvas” of his chargers and bowls interpretations of the textures and hues that surround him in nature. His vessels exemplify midcentury Modernist concerns for the clarity of form and function, but Lovera has also studied Song Dynasty (960–1279 CE) ceramics, which are among the highest achievements in Chinese porcelain. Lovera was moved by the period's regard for simplicity and distillation of essential form.

Lovera is best known for his crater glazes, taking them, beginning in the 1970s, to unprecedented levels of lathered, volcanic definition. Since 2000, Lovera has revisited his longstanding crater formulas, reinventing them as necessary to create surfaces that are now fully dimensional and riddled with thousands of vesicles. Lovera’s mastery of both material and kiln is required to prevent the viscosity of the glaze from shattering a bowl’s thin walls. Molten Blue-Green Crater Bowl features not only exceptionally saturated color but also dramatic stalactites of glaze that drip from the bowl’s exterior.

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