Matthew Marks Gallery

Getting to No


Interview by Vincent Fecteau

Clothbound with jacket
64 pages
27 images
11 × 10½ inches; 28 × 27 cm
ISBN 9781944929206

Ron Nagle: Getting to No features twenty-five new sculptures, most of them no larger than six inches in any dimension. According to Nagle, sculpture at this scale “can allude to a much bigger place, because it’s so small your imagination has to fill in all that space that’s not there.” Although he works in traditional mediums like ceramic and porcelain, he combines them with other materials, including epoxy resin and catalyzed polyurethane, to create forms that cannot be achieved in clay alone.

Inspiration for Nagle’s work often comes from unusual sources, but his work is also grounded in tradition. He frequently cites the influence of shibui, an aesthetic of contrast and balance that is highly prized in Japan. When Nagle makes a sculpture, the proportion of each color is essential; the most vibrant hue might be confined to a thin stripe along its base. “That’s the zinger,” he says. “In music they’d call it a hook. Your eye will go there in reference to the other colors.”

Each sculpture is reproduced in full color, at or near actual size. In the interview, Nagle speaks with fellow San Francisco sculptor Vincent Fecteau about scale, color, and music, as well as Nagle’s early friendships with other West Coast artists — Peter Voulkos, Ken Price, and Jim Melchert — making innovative work in clay.