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Voulkos, Peter

Voulkos, Peter, 1924–2002, American ceramist and sculptor who helped establish ceramics as a fine art, b. Bozeman, Mont., B.S. Montana State College (now Montana State Univ.), 1951, M.F.A California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts), 1952. After working in production pottery and teaching at the experimental Black Mountain College, N.C., he founded the ceramics departments of the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now the Otis College of Art and Design, 1954–59) and the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1959–85). Influenced by abstract expressionism , his large, sculpturally expressive pieces, sometimes using more than 100 pounds of clay and standing more than 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, were often torn and gashed, with exuberant brushwork and brightly colored glazes. In the 1960s he began working in bronze, then returned to clay, firing his works in Japanese wood-burning kilns that affect the color and texture of the glaze. Resuming bronze casting in the late 1960s, he experimented with a variety of patinas. His work is in many museums throughout the world.

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