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Marvin Bjurlin b. 1944, Vessel, c. 1980s; ceramic, 17 x 15 inches; Gift of Scott Goldman, D.M.D. in memory of parents Phyllis and Bernard Goldman, 2017

Marvin Bjurlin b. 1944, Vessel, c. 1980s; ceramic, 17 x 15 inches; Gift of Scott Goldman, D.M.D. in memory of parents Phyllis and Bernard Goldman, 2017

The first Sylvia L. Rosen Endowment purchase award in 1988 went to Marvin Bjurlin for his ceramic installation, Planetary Array (1987). Before he moved into making hand-sculpted pieces, he was a master of wheel-thrown works, both functional dinnerware and sculptures, such as this one that displays his experimentation with lusters over glazes. The shape actually derives from ancient cooking vessels that were used in pits, hence the lack of a flat, secure base on which to stand. The artist also intended the series to symbolize female and male characteristics, hence either involuted or phallic forms and distinctive glaze colors.