ROBERT WAGENER SCULPTURAL CERAMICS

Artist's statement.

Robert Wagener is a sculptural ceramicist from Johannesburg, South Africa whose work has toured the USA.

Robert is fascinated by all aspects of the ceramic process which seem akin to the volcanic origins of the earth itself, opening the kiln, as with most potters, has become an addiction.

The primary focus of Robert's work are shape, form and texture. Working in clay, he is mainly interested in the combination of ceramics with other materials, different metals, glass and wood, where the possibilities seem enticingly endless.

"My love of art and sculpture started very early on and while growing up I would devour books and magazines on the subject. 

Roughly fifteen years ago I started going to the Anne Rimbault Pottery Studio, in Johannesburg, and suddenly I found a void in my life being filled. Sometime later at a Clay Festival I saw a demonstration by the great Nic Sithole on the wheel. Inspired, I transferred to The Pottery Studio in Bryanston, where Nic was working with the late Colleen Lehmkuhl. There I was privileged to meet Michelle Legg, a master artist and a wonderful teacher. I have had the good fortune to work under John Shirley whose vast knowledge and experience in all aspects of ceramics is legendary.

I was very honoured to have one of my earliest coiled and carved pieces acquired for the Corobrik Collection in 2013. Then a piece made in a press mould from a thrown form called ‘Dark Star’ reached the finals for the Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics in Ohio, USA in 2015.

 

Technical difficulties with the grogged clay I was using in the press moulds led me to paperclay.

I now found myself making numerous geometric forms with paperclay.  Most of this work was glazed in powdered copper that leaves a black metallic surface.  These pieces I often combined with slumped glass, the crystalline quality contrasting with the black surfaces. Inspired by the sculptural work of Yukiya Izumita, and it occurred to me that these could be used to create ‘layered’ forms. Nest-like moulded bowls, but also the layered pieces like Sirocco I and II using a process like coiling ensued.  Sirocco I was selected for the Particle & Wave: PaperClay Illuminated series of exhibitions which toured the USA from 2019 to 2021".   

Artist's CV is available here. 

A catalog is available for download here.

Please email artvark@iafrica.com, or  contact us at 021 7885584 for a price llist.

CURRENTLY ON SHOW AT ARTVARK
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Robert Wagener

Ovoid I (2019) - SOLD

Coiled stoneware

H 370 x  W 320 x  Depth 230 mm.

This vessel was coiled using coarse (heavily grogged) white clay. At the end of the coiling process, the surface was lightly carved to add further texture. It underwent up to four firings adding various colors and culminated in a washed-back clear glaze. 

Robert Wagener

Ovoid II - SOLD 

Coiled stoneware 

H. 370 x W 320 x Depth 230mms.

This vessel was coiled using a coarse (heavily grogged) white clay. At the end of the coiling process, the surface was lightly carved to add further texture. It underwent up to four firings adding various colors and culminated in a washed-back clear glaze. 

Robert Wagener

Bronze  Vessel, Ovoid III

Coiled stoneware& Bronze .

H. 460 x W 360 x 265mm

his vessel was coiled using a coarse (heavily grogged) white clay and fired to bisque, then a mould was made and the vessel cast in bronze. The textured exterior is patinated in mottled shades of green and brown with a polished rim. 

Robert Wagener

Masked Vessel I

H. 400 x W. 350 x Depth 350mm

This vessel was coiled using a very coarse terracotta clay. the clay was chosen for its robustness and hue, but also for its travertine surface, scored by the grog behind being dragged through the clay in refining the form. The design on the outside was masked, the exposed surface daubed with a mixture of manganese and copper. The inner surface glazed in a satin black glaze. 

Robert Wagener

Masked Vessel II

H. 400 x W. 330 x Depth 400mm

This vessel was coiled using very coarse terracotta clay. the clay was chosen for its robustness and hue, but also for its travertine surface, scored by the grog behind being dragged through the clay in refining the form. The design on the outside was masked, the exposed surface daubed with a mixture of manganese and copper. The inner surface glazed in a satin black glaze. 

Robert Wagener

Masked Vessel III  (2019) 

Ceramic vessel.

H. 370 x W. 320 x Depth 300mm

This vessel was coiled using very coarse terracotta clay. the clay was chosen for its robustness and hue, but also for its travertine surface, scored by the grog behind being dragged through the clay in refining the form. The design on the outside was masked, the exposed surface daubed with a mixture of manganese and copper. The inner surface glazed in a satin black glaze.

Robert Wagener

Sirocco II (2017) 

H 560 x W  530 x Depth 150mm

Layered Paperclay on a granite pedestal.

This cermic Sculpture has strips of paperclay fused in layers, as in coiling. The clay surface is finished in black underglaze and fired to 1200' C.

This work evolved in experimentation with layered strips of cly. Th result evoked thoughts of erosion and the turbulent motions of the elents, wind and water. Hence the name, Sirocco, a firece wind that scours the Atlas mountains of North Africa.

The piece has no base but is placed into, and lifted by a stainlss steel rod to futhers the effect of movement. 

Robert Wagener

Dewfall  II (2021)

H. 655 x Diameter 200mm.

This vessel was coiled in coarse (heavily grogged) white clay and fired to bisque, then a mould was made and the vessel cast in bronze. The textured exterior is patinated in green tones, and the interior is black. The name is derived from its drop - like shape.

Robert Wagener

Layered Bowl I, Blue Inner. (2018)

H. 75 x Diameter 350mm

Layered Paperclay.

Black copper was used externally and pale blue glaze with splashes internally. Fired to 1200'C.

Robert Wagener

Layered Bowl ii, Gold Inner. (2018)

H. 135 x Diameter approximately 250 mm

Layered Paperclay.

This bowl is composed of layered paperclay panels. The layers placed at different angles to each other. 

Black underglaze was used externally and gold leaf on the inner surface. Fired to 1200'C.