“As a sculptor, my concern is for form,” Larry Elsner wrote in 1977, “a maddening search for the unity of space and mass.” An Idaho native and longtime Utah State University professor, Elsner would always choose form over function, regardless of the medium in which he was working: bronze, clay, metal, stone, plaster, or wood.
Elsner died suddenly 25 years ago, on March 27, 1990, at the age of 59. At the time of his death, more than 700 pieces were collected from the Southwest to the Orient to be sorted and selected for a major 1992 retrospective at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum in Logan. Since then, little of his work has been seen in public. But as part of Phillips Gallery’s 50th anniversary exhibition, his sometimes humorous Asian-influenced modernist ceramic sculptures will be paired with Denis Phillips’ abstract hard-edge paintings.
Read our Artist Profile on Larry Elsner in the March 15, 2015 edition of 15 Bytes.