Ken Price - Wired: Online Auction London Thursday, April 22, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, UK
    Gifted by the above to the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    'There’s no way of knowing how they’ll [the drawings] come out as they dry. Miraculous little things happen; it’s all luck. Drawing was always a private activity for me, with nothing riding on it… I still learn a lot from the drawings, even the ones that disturb me.’ - Ken Price

    Growing up in California, Ken Price was exposed to the intense heat and light of the coastline, stating ‘When I was surfing, I saw a lot of things in nature, especially at Rincon Beach, incredible rocks of all shapes and sizes, some full of worm holes, really beautiful.’ (the artist, quoted in, ‘Ken Price with Douglas Dreishpoon’, The Brooklyn Rail, November 2018, online). Interested in the spontaneity of clay and how it conveys the very essence of the earth, Ken Price’s biomorphic, rock-like sculptures directly influenced his colourful watercolour works on paper. Suspending us in a liminal landscape, the present work, Untitled from 1974, showcases Price’s unique interpretation of natural forms through the jagged abstracted edges of layered geometric shapes. A green, cactus-like form frames the composition while the scorched red earth in the foreground conveys the radiating heat from a high afternoon sun.

    Working amongst a generation of creatives who established a new artistic landscape in 1960s Los Angeles, the artist spearheaded a revolutionary shift in the traditional understanding of two- and three- dimensional media, notably ceramics which was seen as a purely functional medium, and now was being understood as art. Price’s move to Tao, New Mexico, in the 1970s, furthermore informed his overarching aesthetic as the city’s desertic landscapes would seep into the fabric of his own creations. In both his ceramic and pictorial endeavors, the artist regularly attended to the theme of nature — a subject matter that would be honoured in a major posthumous retrospective held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, immediately following his death in 2012, as well as his recent exhibition at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico in 2019. Changing the landscape of modern ceramics with his progressive unity of colour and form, Price’s entire oeuvre is utterly unique in it’s visual language and creativity.



signed and dated 'PRICE '74' lower right
watercolour, graphite and coloured pencil on paper
29.4 x 22.1 cm (11 5/8 x 8 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1974.

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £9,135

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs

Head of Sale, London

+44 20 7901 7993

Wired: Online Auction

Online Auction 22 - 29 April 2021