Vicki Gunter

  • Mother Nature - Canary & Elephant Series ©️Vicki Gunter - clay, underglaze, stains, glaze, art wax, carved pine stump mount, ice cubes 19 x 17 x 12 inches Mother Nature, depicted as African, represents our common origins. Her hair is entwined with African flowers & fish, prehistoric gingko leaves, stars, seaweed & a yellow cautionary canary. Earth, in Mother Nature’s arms — the Sanctuary for all known life. Subtly kinetic, tears fall from her eyes to earth, as ice slowly melts.
  • Cardinal Catchfly (Silene laciniata) ...In Everything Series ©️Vicki Gunter - clay, underglaze, beeswax, patinated copper tubing, glass head pins, glass blown insects 39 x 16 x 8 inches Ruth Santee (owner/dir. Transmission Gallery) invited me to create a new flower sculpture; this was her fabulous & challenging choice! Bigger than 7x's normal size. It's a wonderful tiny thing covered in sticky hairs that catch insects. Five glass insects are caught in its sticky 'hairs' of glass headed pins. The upper reaches of its viney stem transforms into a DNA helix. All living things store a genetic recipe using the same DNA molecules. They are …In Everything. This genetic code of molecules is evidence of the shared ancestry of ALL living things. Each piece in the series transforms into a DNA helix in unique ways. Can you find them?
  • It's Not One Thing ...It's Everything - Loss Series ©️Vicki Gunter Slip, Lithography on Clay, Stains, Lusters Fired @ Cone 6 & 018 Wood Decoupaged With Altered Paper Copies of $1 Bills. 28 x 16 x 6 niches The American flag as experienced by the 99%. Each of the 13 stripes represents a different loss. Actual researched headlines & mastheads regarding the loss of: Jobs Homes Healthcare Public Education Lives through war & suicides Democracy Water Clean air Retirements 10. Free press 11. Privacy 12. Social Services 13. Sanity & the pursuit of happiness
  • Farewell to Spring ...In Everything Series ©️Vicki Gunter - clay, underglaze, glaze, beeswax, encaustic, wire 19 x 26 x 10 inches Farewell to Spring is dedicated to my dear friend & fellow dancer Marnie Anderson. Our last conversation had to be simple. I asked, “What is your favorite color?” She said “Purple”. I asked what are your favorite flowers and she said “Too hard”. So, I asked, “What color are your favorite flowers?” “Purple” Via my cell I took her for a walk and we saw these purplish California natives: Clarkia (common name Farewell to Spring), a spray of Lupine & Violet. All 7 times normal size, the Clarkia pistil twists into a DNA helix. I told Marnie I would make this sculpture so she would always be remembered. Pistil is a DNA helix
  • One Nest - Canary & Elephant Series ©️Vicki Gunter clay, stains, underglaze, glaze, beeswax, plastic grocery ties 9 x 15 x 15 inches My first image of One Nest, starving fledgling and human infant together, formed upon hearing of the Yemen famine in 2017 “the worst famine in the world in 100 years”. One Nest was created during COVID-19—nesting in lock-down. I love birds…There visits thrill me in my garden of native plants, that attract the insects that thrill them. They won’t all make-it. They have to survive feral cats, pesticides in neighbors’ yards and loss of habitat for the next nest. Yes, this piece is shaped like a STOP sign! Plastics, (grocery ties here) are invading all life’s nests and food. Native plants attract the most critical bird-baby-food, yummy, soft, caterpillars! The entire food web depends on insects for all who eat. One Nest, from my Canary & Elephant Series, with its yellow, canary-in-the-coal-mine, alerts us to different social and ecojustice issues. The challenge— the BIG choices we need to make to remove the profit-driven, Elephants-in-the-Room. Let’s RESTART by honoring our ONE NEST!
  • Thirsty Tiger ...In Everything Series ©️Vicki Gunter - clay, underglaze, stains, glass, patinated copper, beeswax 36 x 23 x 23 inches This piece is based on a childhood backpacking memory. I knelt with family, drank from a cool, clean Sierra stream & saw my first Tiger Lily. I was amazed! I was the Tiger Lily! I was the stream! My childhood face of awe peeks from a petal’s past in the sculpture. And in that past my daddy called me Tiger. There are three DNA helixes in this piece. Today we can’t drink from those streams. Tomorrow? 3 DNA helixes
  • Baby Names 1955-2020 - New Era Series ©️Vicki Gunter paper clay, underglaze, stains, glaze 20 x 27 x 5.5 inches Clay is slow and fragile, then stone. Change is slow and fragile then inevitable. Art feels urgent in these precarious, revolutionary times. Say their names. I could only fit 44 names on this piece. Sadly, you know many more black lives have been taken. My list begins with Emmett Till, whose murder in 1955 sparked the civil rights movement. The last name on this list is George Floyd. I chose white as my primary palette because George Floyd’s family wore white to his funeral saying this was “not an end, but a new era!” I also chose the yellow of the cautionary canary, still alerting us. DNA is inscribed on the blooming rose. All of these people were somebody's baby. I value clay’s infinite potential mirroring our own.
  • Let the Earth Cradle You - New Era Series ©️Vicki Gunter - recycled clay, underglaze, stains, beeswax 15.5 x 21 x 20 One Wednesday morning in 2018 our yoga teacher, Lilia Roman, said, “Let the earth cradle you.” I loved the peace it gave me. I also saw this sculpture, or something like it, in my mind’s eye. The image kept recurring and altering at unexpected moments. Time passed. Then we were hit by the Pandemic, along with Climate Crisis, our people dying and divided, desperate unemployment, evictions, the murder of George Floyd highlighted the tyranny of it all. The one thing we could continue to do, away from home, was hike the beautiful trails around us and, let the earth cradle us. After nearly a year of all these brutal challenges facing us, the one piece I felt I could create for everyone, everywhere, was, Let the Earth Cradle You. I hope it helps.

As a native of California, the clay state, I love turning clay to stone. I feel an urgency to create art in this revolutionary time and value clay’s infinite potential − mirroring our own.
My intention is to share work that stirs the visceral will to face our many challenges, with hope & joy, in the beauty that is in us and all other life. Beauty, that is under our feet and setting sail at our back.
Inspired by its no-waste complexity, nature is my source and my anchor, in wild places and at home in East Oakland. It can guide us, as artists and citizens, by its responses to our actions.
I am currently creating work within three series: Canary & Elephant Series: what’s the next canary-int-the-coal=mine for our planet and what are the elephants-in-the-room that we need to remove. …In Everythng Series: DNA is in everything. Each piece in the series transforms into a DNA helix in unique ways. My New Era Series was initially inspired by the murder of George Floyd.
I research each piece in the field, online and in my sketchbook before working. I sculpt each piece using slab, solid, wheel or coil techniques. I paint with underglazes, stains and love the process of finishing with beeswax as well as glazes.
I enjoy luring the viewer in with beauty to confront challenging issues.
Clay has a memory. It records your fingerprints and all the ways you held it in your hands. Our earth has a memory and responds to our manipulations. My work in clay draws from the knowledge that everything…us, our food, home, clothes, tools, toys all come from the ‘clay’ of the earth. My hope is, that we will seek solutions in nature-based knowledge to grow, gather, love & consume with justice for all. Leaving the smallest fingerprint.
Vicki, a California native, began life as a hiker, tree climber, dancer and painter. Her earliest clay influence, was with her teacher Clayton Bailey in 1968. At SF State she was swept into the antiwar, ecology and student civil rights movements, where clay, dance and science continued. Her first 40 years as an artist were as a professional dancer/motion therapist.
At the age of 60, Vicki changed her focus to a profession of clay. Her first submission led to Santa Cruz Museum’s People’s Choice Award in 2010. She has been influenced by the funk ceramic period:  V. Frey, J. Chicago, C. Bailey, plus: Michele Gregor, Lisa Reinertson, Michelangelo and sewing. Inspired by its no-waste complexity, nature is her source and anchor, in wild places and at her home and studio in East Oakland.
She is especially inspired by  the clay itself.
Her award winning work has exhibited, in solo & group shows, locally & nationally, & is in several private collections. 

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