Clay & Space

Clay & Space

Adam Silverman was born in NY, raised in Connecticut and educated at The Rhode Island School of Design, and now lives were is pottery takes him. His pottery will be showing at the Laguna Art Museum tell January 19th. This first solo museum show, Clay & Space, will coincide with the publishing by Skira-Rizzoli of the beautiful book Adam Silverman Ceramics. The show features a selection of his best pots, including some new pieces created especially for the occasion, and an elaborate installation designed by Silverman himself.

In an instance of Silverman’s ingenuity in creating unique site-specific pottery, one room in the Laguna show is an installation of pots crafted partially from local clay and fired in the firepits on Aliso Beach, not far from some of the best Laguna Beach vacation rentals. Silverman explains his technique as “the most primitive form of firing, and the oldest. It is called pit firing because the pots are piled up in a pit with combustibles and ignited. The fire burns for a few hours and the pots sit in a bed of red hot coals and eventually it just runs out of fuel. There is very little control over the temperature or the environment that the pots are in, beyond choosing what you burn. In the case of the Laguna Beach pit firing, he included wood chips from the grounds of the Sawdust Art Festival, drift wood from the beach, wood from the local canyons, and seaweed from the beach. In addition he collected 10 gallons of water from the ocean and made salt from the water, which was also added to the fire.

Silverman also notes some of the clay that is used “clay that he got in the canyon at the end of Canyon Acres Drive. The local potter Mark Winner graciously showed me where to clay hunt. The clay was used to make slip to apply to the exterior of some of the pots. He used several different clay bodies for the pit firings and made about 50 pots, most of which will be displayed in one of the galleries at the museum in a very specific designed and built installation.”

Also included in the show are two pieces that in different senses bring pottery together with video. Silverman explains, “One is a collaboration between myself and Lucas Michael. It is a white pot sitting on a pedestal, with a video projected onto it. The video shows the same pot rotating, and the result is a very beautiful illusion of the pot being in water, or swept by the wind. The other video piece is of Le Corbusier’s chapel at Ronchamp, a beautiful, small pilgrimage church in eastern France. This building has been enormously influential on me and my work. In its forms it is closely associated with the sea, and at the same time it is like a large pot that people can go inside. It feels like the outside and the inside were made simultaneously, as though the building were a pot, which is very unusual in architecture.”

If Adam Silverman: Clay & Space has a recurrent theme, it is the relation of art to nature. Silverman brings to his pottery a keen response to natural forms and materials—the spiral growth of sea shells, the textures of coral and barnacles, the rhythms of the tide, waves and seaweed, clay and wood.

Please don’t miss seeing this spectacular work at the Laguna Beach Art Museum at 307 Cliff Drive. For more information please call 949-494-8971 or visit