By Crocker Staff

Juicy pomegranates, lively fish, sea-creature-inspired vessels, and characters from pop culture and Greek mythology captivate visitors in Exuberant Earth: Ceramics by Ruth Rippon, an exhibition honoring the Sacramento ceramist's remarkable career.

Rippon’s humor and zest for life are evident throughout this exhibition. If it’s nature you want, marvel at Sea Urchin Casserole, or Waterfall Monolith I. While Rippon loves nature, she is also a fan of ancient mythologies. Don't miss Europa and the Bull for a whimsical homage to the Greek myth of Zeus and Europa, when the god disguises himself as a white bull and carries the beautiful mortal, Europa, off into the sea.

Rippon's insatiable curiosity did not end with nature and ancient myths. She was inspired by the Pop Art, Funk Art, and Minimalism movements of the '60s and '70s, evident in her ABC Blocks, First Ladies Blocks, and Peep Show series. Straying from the seriousness of Minimalism, however, Rippon reveals a more playful commentary in her pieces.

Ruth Rippon, First Ladies Blocks, 1968. Stoneware, 5 cubes: 8 3/4 x 8 3/4 x 8 3/4 in. (each), 2 die: 5 x 5 x 5 in. (each). Collection of Cathie Neagle Fobes.

This exhibition and its catalogue are made possible through the generosity of the Creative Arts League Sacramento, an organization co-founded by 10 women in 1952 to bring outstanding works of local, contemporary artists to the community. Ruth Rippon joined CALS in 1957 and she remains a prominent member of the organization 60 years later.

Visitors who would like to see more of Ruth Rippon’s ceramics can also check out Sacramento City College’s exhibition, The Rippons (The Work of Ruth & Tom Rippon).

Exuberant Earth: Ceramics by Ruth Rippon closes at the Crocker Art Museum on February 4, 2018.

Interested in learning more? Check out these exhibition-related programs:

Sculpt a Mini Lollie
November 11 & 12, 2017
10:30 AM – 3 PM
Inspired by Ruth Rippon’s larger-than-life sculptures of the little old ladies she dubbed “Lollies,” this class will offer students an understanding of the different stages of clay and how to halt the drying process so that works can be sculpted over a period of time. Participants will learn basic hand-building techniques (slab, coil, pinch) to create a table-size sculpture. Students are invited to take their sculptures to Alpha Fired Arts for firing, the final stage of the ceramic process. Educators receive free instruction materials.

Clay and Chardonnay
November 19, 2017
1 – 3 PM
View the exhibition and experiment with the versatility of clay. Learn hand-building techniques while you play with air-dry clay and create a tabletop sculpture.

Lunch & Learn
December 5, 2017
12 & 1 PM
Join an in-depth examination of Rippon's First Ladies Blocks, 1968. Before or after the 30-minute gallery conversation, take time to enjoy lunch at the Crocker Cafe by Supper Club.

Exploring the Art of Ceramics by Jo Lauria
December 9, 2017
2 – 3 PM
In honor of the exhibition, hear from ceramics expert and historian Jo Lauria about this important and widely loved art form, and how Rippon's imaginative and groundbreaking work fits into the broader history of ceramics as a modern art form. A curator and lead writer for the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, Ms. Lauria has a bachelor's in art history from Yale University and an Masters of Fine Arts with a ceramics major from Otis College of Art and Design.

Theatre + Art: Play with Clay
January 7, 2018
1 – 3 PM
Designed for families with youth ages 7 and older, all participants have an opportunity to learn and grow together as they explore fine and performing art forms. Families will discover the Crocker’s permanent collection of ceramics and explore the process of hand building with air-dry clay. Later, Circa’s acrobats, singers, and musicians will delight everyone with a circus-themed escapade at the Mondavi Center. Transportation is not provided.

Material Explosion
January 13, 2018
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Make a clay sculpture inspired by Ruth Rippon. Designed for children ages 7–12 with busy schedules, enroll your child in this session, or several sessions of our winter Material Explosion series. In each session, students will bring an artwork to conclusion, ready to take home.

Top Image: Ruth Rippon, Europa and the Bull, 1964. Stoneware, 23 x 21 x 11 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Mrs. George W. Bullen.