Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles
text by Randy Rice
David Cressey, who died in 2013 at the age of 96, was a significant figure in post-war Southern California pottery and design. Best known for his large-scale ceramic vessels produced while designing and fabricating with Architectural Pottery of Los Angeles, his pieces adorned many a local patio and courtyard. In recent years, his works have gained popularity with a new generation of collectors and designers. This new audience has begun to appreciate Cressey’s objects for what they inherently provide: an of-the-earth classism and 1950s California idealism born from the artist’s Venice beach studio.Hildebrandt Studio, who represents the estate of Cressey, has presented in their light-filled Culver City space the exhibition Landscaping California, where six of Cressey’s Innerscape paintings are shown for the first time alongside his pottery. The paintings, created in the late 80s, function by their very medium, yet are intrinsically linked to his pottery inasmuch as surface, pattern and overall topography. One of the more surprising aspects of the paintings is the pronounced difference in color, saturation and texture. While the paintings are born from the same method and are identical in scale, the intensity of depth and color oscillate. A search for balance exists in the paintings that is not apparent in his highly consistent ceramics. Later in life, Cressey moved from function in clay to form in painting. Even so, his primary concern remained rooted in the basic principles of his practice: what can literally be brought from the earth and wrangled to function as both domestic design and painting. Landscaping California runs from May 9–June 12, 2015 at Hildebrandt Studio (5880 Blackwelder Street, Los Angeles, CA 90232).