- Bainbridge Arts & Crafts
- 151 Winslow Way East
- Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
- (206) 842-3132
- Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 – 6PM, Sunday 11 – 5PM
Among this month’s art offerings is a gem, a solo exhibition of ceramic sculpture by Patti Warashina. What a treat. Warashina presents a variety of works from different “eras” of her career, different series she has been engaged with since around 2010. These range from simple cups to sculptures all populated by her stylized figures in smooth white clay and drawn – just enough- to indicate genders and expressions, both facial and gestural. Beyond the ceramics she offers several prints that date as far back as 2000. What we cannot see are any paintings or the large public sculptures or bronze figures she has occasionally created. She has truly had a far-ranging career.
Warashina is an internationally recognized sculptor. She is best known for her breakout style of figurative ceramic sculptures. This approach lifted her out and away from the functional utilitarian clay pots that were the norm for the field heading into the 1960s. Warashina was joining a radical shift in the pottery-ceramic field as the 60s took off with leaders such as Beatrice Wood, Peter Volkus, Robert Arneson, and Robert Sperry. These pioneers, among others, who were working in the avant-garde and funk movements of the day, opened gateways for Warashina to pursue her own artistic muses.
UW Professor Emerita of Art History, Martha Kingsbury, wrote that Warashina has a “freewheeling imagination and an irrepressible comic spirit have long been characteristics people relish in Warashina’s work, characteristics she often links with contemporary issues…” Indeed, given Warashina’s gender, her race, her profession (clay/crafts) and growing up in American culture, circa 1940 – 1960, the use of her skillful rendering of people, often based on herself, in a fun, almost festive presentation, was genius. She found a unique avenue of expression on which she has traveled for over sixty years.
On the playful side, her “Bird Covered Jars Series,” cup, plates and cat series are accessible with bright colors accentuating the atmosphere Warashina is creating. Several major artworks take center stage. Two are from the “Conversations Series.” “Gossipmongers” is a large circle of stylized figures sitting around and, well, gossiping. It is large enough that you feel you are one of those passing on the gossip or hearing what you want to hear. “Scrutiny” is a lineup of female figures, sitting in different stages of undress, or censorship. Two other major artworks are from the “Cloud Bank Series” where, from the bulbous shapes you could perhaps find these figures. “Summertime” would be in the playful, hopeful vein. And “Crossroads” pushes fully into the culture and political wars America has been in for the past half dozen years or so.
It was in January of 1948 that the start of the formation of Bainbridge Arts & Crafts (BAC). And this January 2023, BAC begins to celebrate her 75 years with this exhibition of the clay sculptures and prints of an American artist treasure, Patti Warashina. In 1948 Warashina was eight years old, living in Spokane, WA, and seemingly headed for a technical career in dentistry, her father’s profession. As will often happen, she found herself drawn to another field, art, and in particular ceramics, circa 1960. Both have flourished and succeeded in the decades since their beginnings.
Warashina’s most recent public sculpture is “Dreamer,” a 13.5 x 18 x 8-foot painted cast aluminum figure that literally lays in front of a building at the corner of Westlake Avenue and Republican Street, Seattle, a commission from Vulcan Real Estate and installed in 2022.
ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee. Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.