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David Gilhooly's Frogs and Fruitcake

Bread Frog Trying to Make Himself into a Christmas Fruitcake (1977) by David Gilhooly; low-fire white earthernware, commercial glazes, varnish, poppy seeds, handbuilt; 13" h x 18"w x 13"
Bread Frog Trying to Make Himself into a Christmas Fruitcake (1977) by David Gilhooly; low-fire white earthernware, commercial glazes, varnish, poppy seeds, handbuilt; 13" h x 18"w x 13"
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David Gilhooly is a distinguished ceramicist and product of the 1960s California funk ceramics movement. His work often features animals - particularly frogs - that make up something he refers to as "Frog World." According to Gilhooly, he made his first frogs using low-fire whiteware while working in a studio he shared with contemporaries Robert Arneson, Margaret Dodd, Chris Unterseher, and Peter Vandenberge in 1965.

Several of his pieces, including the festive Bread Frog Trying to Make Himself into a Christmas Fruitcake (1977), were featured in the exhibition, "David Gilhooly: Ceramics," held at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York from January 28 - April 2, 1978. In the catalog for the exhibition, available through our online collections, Gilhooly has this to say about the work: "As to my current emphasis on the frog world: you see a lot of breadfrogs here. They are my most recent character, discovered on the evening of my first bake sale when someone made some special frog breads and I had the realization that Bread Frog is a prime figure, and fad maker in the fine art of the Frog World." 

Since the mid-1990s, Gilhooly has continued to work off-and-on with clay while experimenting with new media, including acrylic paint, plexiglas, shadow boxes, and assemblage. Although Gilhooly is well-known for his eccentric ceramic work, he is a versatile artist, skilled printmaker, and draftsman. His clay sculptures, prints, and collages are held in many public and private collections and his work continues to be shown in gallery and museum exhibitions around the globe. 

Throwback Thursday is a weekly series highlighting visuals from the American Craft Council Library's Digital Collections Database. Check back on Thursdays for more. 

 

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