Anna Silver at AMOCA

Silver Splendor: Reimagining Painting on a Round Vessel

It’s interesting to think about an artist’s recognition, especially regarding Anna Silver, my dear friend, confidante, and advisor. Anna recently celebrated her 90th birthday and has produced over 2,500 ceramic pieces in her long career. We celebrated with Anna at the opening of her first solo exhibition at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. The event was well attended, and the energy was fantastic.

Anna Silver, an American ceramic artist, studied with Fernand Léger in Paris in the 1950s and later attended the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Silver was trained in painting but was introduced to ceramics by a group of artists at the Otis Art Institute, including Peter Voulkos, Michael Frimkess, Billy Al Bengston, and Paul Soldner. Silver is known for her biomorphic shapes painted on classical, functional forms such as her teapots, which suggest multiple canvases on a single form. Some of Silver’s work has a feminist theme, and she is considered an abstract expressionist, using vessels as canvases for her colorful paintings. Léger likely influenced Silver’s color palette.

Anna Silver has made a unique contribution to the field of pottery by finding innovative ways to use the medium as a platform for exploring painting on a round vessel. She steers clear of traditional ideas about imagery organization and conventional notions of taste and style, instead opting for a pictorial approach that utilizes the entire form to support an overall dynamic composition. Silver’s visual language for the ceramic experience is modern and not drawn from any historic ceramic genres.

I wonder if a male artist of this caliber would have to wait that long for this kind of recognition.

March 2019