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Bari Zipperstein, who for a few years has concentrated her energies on a line of production pottery called BZippy, returns this month to her fine art background. The artist, who grew up in the Chicago area, came to L.A. for graduate studies at Cal Arts. While there, she learned a lot about what not to do. Ceramics, for instance.

Bari Ziperstein. Gossip, Gossip, Gossip, 2017. Stoneware, underglaze and glaze. 12 1/2 x 9 x 11 in. 31.8 x 22.9 x 27.9 cm. (BZ17.020)

After graduation, she was able to transfer her considerable drafting skills not to painting but to ceramic sculpture. After spending time at the Wende Museum, with their enlightening collections of Soviet art, much of it oriented to propaganda, she was inspired to introduce those themes into her art.

Bari Ziperstein. Unite All People!, 2018. Stoneware, underglaze, glaze. 57 x 18 x 18 in. 144.8 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm. (BZ18.007) 

The result is Propaganda Pots, a show of non-utilitarian ceramics that are etched, painted and glazed with elaborate re- interpretations of the propaganda themes. It is on view at Nino Mier Gallery in Hollywood.

Bari Ziperstein. Reenactment of a Soviet Voyeur Scene, 2016 . Terracotta, underglaze and glaze. 9 1/2 x 8 x 8 in. 24.1 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm

Studying the graphic art made during the Soviet era, Ziperstein was struck by the insistent warnings against drinking, drugs and loose sexual morals. Propaganda is about restrictions. Art is not. The combination makes for energizing work that combines questioning of such thinking with impressive technical chops.

Bari Ziperstein. Hello Youth!, 2018. Stoneware, linen, underglaze & glaze. 14 x 29 x 22 1/4 in. 35.6 x 73.7 x 56.5 c

Two-dimensional imagery is executed in three-dimensions on vessels that are modeled on plastic bowls from the 99-cent store. She takes great liberties so that the images wrap around the shapes and are glazed multiple times in a rich array of colors. The patterns are matte and glossy. The messaging complex and conflicting. She also reaches back in time to the traditional Russian folk art of nesting dolls and floral patterns. She has arranged the vessels on a u-shaped platform so viewers can walk around and see all sides of each piece.

Bari Ziperstein. A Rich inner content, 2017. Stoneware, underglaze, glaze. 11 1/2 x 9 x 13 in. 29.2 x 22.9 x 33 cm

For opening night, she has constructed a special ceramic “jockey box,” a housing for a keg of beer with a special opening for the spout. An gathering of happy, productive workers taken from the Soviet posters is painted on the surface. It seems an appropriate meld of form and function.

The exhibit is on view through March 3.

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