Peter St. Lawrence is an Oakland-based ceramic artist who earned his BFA in sculpture from California College of the Arts. His early work focused on figurative sculpture, dolls, and marionettes. As he started engaging more with the interior design world, contributing eventually to the design of several Bay Area restaurants, he started creating simpler forms in his studio, which were applied to vessels and lighting. In his most recent body of work, St. Lawrence has shed all ornament and function, focusing on pure form, with a series of table-top sculptures that feel minimal, contemporary, classic, organic, serious, and playful all at the same time.
Iconographically, the work references human shapes and ancient sculpture, while stylistically leaning toward mid-century modernism. Certainly, the work’s simplicity brings it toward minimalism and a serious kind of formalism–a realm where the grace in the arc of a curve, the play between form and negative space, and the beauty of the pure material, are poetic and engaging enough to give the work a compelling presence.
At the same time, and in contrast to a categorical and canonical minimalism, there is also something very human about St Lawrence’s work, that brings a warmth and honesty to it. This humanity can be found in the occasionally anthropomorphic forms, in the quirky sense of humor and play, and in the physical tactility of the objects, whose raw and glazed surfaces show just enough hand to remind the viewer of the physical process of making that brought them into the world.
Peter St. Lawrence has been contributing to the arts community in Oakland since he received a BFA in sculpture from California College of the Arts in 2001. He works as a stylist and as an interior design consultant, while maintaining a robust studio practice He is also a founder and director of FM; a fine art gallery and community of artist studios in Oakland.