Material Affinities: To Clay and Back.
Works by Lynda Benglis, Richard Deacon, Roger Herman, Ann Page and Michael Todd
September 5 - October 20, 2007

USC Fisher Gallery
823 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90089-0292
Contact: Lisa Merighi
(213) 740-4561, fax (213) 740-7676
Web site,
Gallery hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5pm

This exhibition features a group of artists exploring the use of clay to express ideas and broaden their visual vocabulary

Los Angeles—
Material Affinities: To Clay and Back. Works by Lynda Benglis, Richard Deacon, Roger Herman, Ann Page and Michael Todd opens September 5 and runs through October 20, 2007, at the University of Southern California’s Fisher Gallery. The exhibition is curated by artist Trevor Norris and artist and curatorial advisor Tressa Miller, with a catalogue essay by Julie Joyce, Gallery Director, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State L.A..

The artists in Material Affinities: To Clay and Back have all been identified in the past with genres ranging from painting to sculpture to installation art. While their individual approach to artistic production varies greatly, in the past decade they all have taken up working with clay. This exhibition will feature each artist’s clay and non-clay pieces in juxtaposition, as to reveal the connections that link their aesthetic and conceptual identities to each material. Medium is an essential component in a work of art. At its core, medium provides for the physical as well as perceived attributes, such as texture and density, of a work. Clay, an inexpensive and common material, has nonetheless been used by many recognized artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Andre Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Joan Miró.

Clay, because of its protean character, has provided all of the artists in Material Affinities: To Clay and Back with the opportunity to advance creatively. Several of the artists in Material Affinities have affirmed that the use of clay instills a sense of freedom for those who experiment with it. Lynda Benglis has worked with the greatest range of materials, including wax, latex, glass, metals, neon and video. On her terms, she developed a body of work which is literally and metaphorically physical. Richard Deacon, one of the most important British sculptors, made his first ceramic work in 1992. Deacon created small clay works in his studio, and then brought them to the workshop where they were fabricated in large scale. Roger Herman, known primarily as a painter, started making ceramic and found this technique allowed more spontaneity than does paintings. Ann Page spent much of her career as an artist working with paper—from collage and drawing to three-dimensional works. She started experimenting with clay in the mid-1990s, often combining her fascination with systems and visual translation of literary works, in particular Michael Laurence’s poems. A sculptor and a painter, Michael Todd started working with clay in 1988. Todd found a completely new way to utilize his own personal language of geometric shapes—his signature style for much of the 1980s and 1990s. His ceramic sculptures from the early 1990s onwards are extremely sensual and display exquisite manipulation of the medium.

About the Artists

An eminent sculptor and video maker for more than three decades, Lynda Benglis produced a pioneering body of feminist video in the 1970s. Immediate and visceral, Benglis' video work confronts issues raised by feminist theory, including the representation of women, the role of the spectator, and female sexuality.

Richard Deacon is widely regarded as one of the principal British sculptors, best known for his innovative use of open form and his interest in materials and their manipulation. For more than two decades, Deacon has created unique sculptures in a wide range of materials such as laminated wood, polycarbonate, leather, cloth and ceramic. Working on both a domestic and monumental scale, his structures combine organic and biomorphic forms with elements of engineering.

Roger Herman has been acknowledged one of L.A.'s leading painters since his move from Germany twenty-five years ago. Chiefly known for his often monumentally-scaled expressionistic canvases and woodblock prints featuring the obsessively repeated images of such unemotional subjects as the side of an apartment building or a suite of office furniture, he is an artist who has pushed his work in ever-new directions.

Ann Page’s work is included in the collection of The Oakland Museum, Yale University Gallery of Art, Honolulu Academy of Fine Arts and the International Paper Co, amongst others. Page has been a member of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts faculty since 1986 and has worked with the VSOE in creating an interdisciplinary Art & Technology Fine Arts course. She has also taught at the Claremont Graduate School, Otis Art Institute and UCSB College for Creative Studies.

Michael Todd has taught at UCLA, UCI, UCSD, California Institute of the Arts and Otis Art Institute. He has exhibited in numerous individual and group shows at galleries and museums, and has work in the permanent collections at Storm King and the Whitney Museum in New York, the H. Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Norton Simon in Pasadena and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Schedule of Events

Curatorial Walkthrough
Thursday, September 6, 2007, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Join guest curators Trevor Norris and Tressa Miller in a tour of the exhibition Material Affinities: To Clay and Back. Works by Lynda Benglis, Richard Deacon, Roger Herman, Ann Page and Michael Todd

Artist’s Talks
Thursday, September 13, 2007, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Artist Ann Page discusses her work

Wednesday, September 19, 2007, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Artist Michael Todd discusses his work

Thursday, October 18, 2007, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Artist Roger Herman discusses his work

Thursday, October 11, 2007, 1:00 noon to 1:45 pm
Dr. Selma Holo, Director, USC Fisher Gallery, Ariadni A. Liokatis, Curator, USC Fisher Gallery, and Lisa Merighi, Education and Public Relations Coordinator, will discuss the compelling world of museums and what it takes to embark on a museum career.

Friday, October 12, 2007, 04:00 noon to 4:45 pm
Join Dr. Selma Holo, Director, USC Fisher Gallery and Julie Joyce, Gallery Director, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State L.A., for a behind-the-scene conversation about an exhibition’s curatorial process.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Crosses and Crossroads. Lecture and Performance by Malaleche
Crosses and Crossroads is a visual and performative meditation on the violence, pain, fear and death interlinking the global chain of women migrants.

Exhibition Catalogue
The show is accompanied by a catalogue. To order, please contact Fisher Gallery at (213) 740-4561.

About USC Fisher Gallery
Fisher Gallery is the accredited art museum of the University of Southern California. Since its opening in 1939, Fisher Gallery has grown significantly in stature and prominence as the museum of USC. In addition to showing the permanent collection, the Gallery presents traveling exhibitions and organizes its own successful exhibitions, offering the campus and community, as well as the greater Los Angeles area, a wide variety of changing exhibitions. Fisher Gallery offers programming to support its exhibitions such as lectures, artist’s talks, film screening, concerts, and poetry readings.

General Information
For general information, press information, images, or to schedule an interview, call (213) 740-5537. Press images can be downloaded at

Museum Hours and Admission
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 pm; closed Sunday and Monday. Admission to the exhibition and all related events are free. Call (213) 740-4561 or visit for more information.

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