The first monograph on a beloved American ceramicist who has been making joyful and original work for nearly 80 years
Born in 1931, and living in New York, Alice Mackler today is still pushing forward not only her own art but also the boundaries of contemporary art across sculpture, painting, drawing and collage. While long beloved and admired by artists, Mackler over the last few years has finally found the wide and enthusiastic audience she deserves. With a focus on the female figure, Mackler’s work is, as Matthew Higgs writes in this book, “a visceral accumulation of her experiences translated into a material form.”
Mackler’s vibrant, voluptuous ceramic sculptures evoke the Venus of Willendorf as well as versions of the female form by Willem de Kooning, Gaston Lachaise and Niki de Saint Phalle. At the same time, her work is in dialogue with contemporary ceramicists such as Ruby Neri, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Betty Woodman. The artist cites Paul Klee as an influence on her paintings, which feel rooted in modernism; her drawings call to mind Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet and Saul Steinberg.
While these influences and references are telling, this comprehensive overview makes clear that her vision is genuinely her own. As Kelly Taxter writes in the book’s central essay, “Mackler’s visibility resists the seemingly inevitable invisibility that befalls ageing women.” Now approaching the beginning of her ninth decade, Alice Mackler and her art continue to be as vital, urgent and current as ever.