Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content

Ken Price was one of the most important sculptors and printmakers to have emerged in Los Angeles in the past fifty years. He first gained prominence in the 1960s as one of the artists of the iconic Ferus Gallery, alongside Larry Bell, Ed Ruscha, and John McCracken. Price first differentiated himself by choosing to work on a smaller scale, primarily making exquisite egg shapes that sprout erotic, worrisome tendrils. He proceeded to develop abstract variations on cup, teapot, and vase forms with faceted asymmetrical compositions, glazed with primary colors that are like pocket distillations—which turn monumental in memory—of modern style from Cubism through De Stijl to Minimalism. He carried his preference for the small but dynamic into his printmaking, often using the imagery of landscapes and commerce as foundations for his boldly colored graphic pieces. Later, Price became well known for his sensuous sculptural forms with beautifully speckled and shimmering surfaces, carefully worked away and built up over many layers of paint.

Price’s lifelong engagement with ceramics eventually culminated with his late-career series of biomorphic sculptures, vividly-coloured and small enough to mount a conventional tabletop.  Although Price was less concerned with technique than with forging intuitive harmonies of form and colour, each sculpture is the result of a laborious and finely-tuned artistic process.  Price worked loosely from sketched studies, and, under his deft hands, lumps of brown clay gave way to gently rounded bodies with bulbous protrusions and evocative hollows.  The artist coated his sculptures with dozens of thin layers of acrylic paint, which he would sand down or strip with rubbing alcohol to achieve an uneven, mottled finish.

The resultant works, which occupy the significant conceptual space between post-minimalism and postmodernism, have been described, by turns, as  “visual resplendent,” “psycho-sexual,” and “knobby, undulating mounds.”  The artist’s particular genius can be located in his ability to animate static objects. 

Slideshow 1

Humpback, 1998 Acrylic on fired clay

Humpback, 1998
Acrylic on fired clay
8  x 15.25 x 12.25  inches
(20.3 x 38.7 x 31.1 centimeters)
$285,000

Humpback, 1998 Acrylic on fired clay

Humpback, 1998
Acrylic on fired clay
8  x 15.25 x 12.25  inches
(20.3 x 38.7 x 31.1 centimeters)
$285,000

Grid View

Untitled (Refinery Pink and Black), 1993

Untitled (Refinery Pink and Black), 1993
Watercolor and ink on paper
$17,000
13 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches
(34.3 X 34.3 centimeters)

Inquire
Before the Earthquake, 1994

Before the Earthquake, 1994
Ink and Acrylic on Paper
$30,000
20 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches
(52.1 x 47 x 3.2 centimeters)

Inquire
Untitled, 1993 Watercolor and ink on paper

Untitled, 1993
Watercolor and ink on paper
$17,000
10 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches
(27.3 x 27.3 centimeters)

Inquire
Untitled, 1993 Watercolor on Paper

Untitled, 1993
Watercolor on Paper
$40,000
Framed Dimensions: 16 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches
(41.9 x 52.1 x 3.2 centimeters)

Inquire
2 bdrm 1 1/2 bath, 1994

2 bdrm 1 1/2 bath, 1994
Ink and acrylic on paper 
$60,000
16 x 13 3/4 inches
(40.6 x 34.9 centimeters)

Inquire
Town with Tall Mountain, 1974

Town with Tall Mountain, 1974
Gouache and pastel on paper
$24,000
14 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches
(36.8 x 31.3 centimeters)

Inquire

Ken Price’s works on paper pull from the everyday and the impossible. His subject matters range from interior scenes devoid of objects or figural representation to exterior landscapes rampant with cars, freeways, billboards, and neon signs—Los Angeles, encapsulated. 

Drawings preceded any other type of work for Price. “It’s where essential thinking goes on, and it’s the soul connection too,” he said. It allowed for flexibility in form and gave multiple avenues where a work could lead to, exist in, and be thought about. “I can look at different areas of imagery that never have to be resolved…I can play around with color…among other things, a good drawing can cut right to the essence of something.” 

Grid View 2

Untitled, 1983 Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper

Untitled, 1983
Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper
$25,500
5 x 6 3/4 inches
(12.7 x 17.15 centimeters)

Inquire
Untitled, 1983 Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper

Untitled, 1983
Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper
$25,500
11 x 8 1/2 inches
(27.94 x 21.59 centimeters)

Inquire
Port Hole, 1980

Port Hole, 1980
Graphite on museum board
$35,000
15 1/4 x 12 5/16 inches
(38.7 x 31.3 centimeters)

Inquire

Slideshow 3

Bubbles, 1995 Acrylic on fired ceramic

Bubbles, 1995
Acrylic on fired ceramic
22 x 29 1/2 x 22 inches
(55.9 x 74.9 x 55.9 centimeters)
$650,000

Bubbles, 1995 Acrylic on fired ceramic

Bubbles, 1995
Acrylic on fired ceramic
22 x 29 1/2 x 22 inches
(55.9 x 74.9 x 55.9 centimeters)
$650,000

Bubbles, 1995 Acrylic on fired ceramic

Bubbles, 1995
Acrylic on fired ceramic
22 x 29 1/2 x 22 inches
(55.9 x 74.9 x 55.9 centimeters)
$650,000

Bubbles, 1995 Acrylic on fired ceramic

Bubbles, 1995
Acrylic on fired ceramic
22 x 29 1/2 x 22 inches
(55.9 x 74.9 x 55.9 centimeters)
$650,000