Talking Heads: Figuration From Northern California Ceramicists, Curated By Susan Alexander, At monca From November 15-January 20 //

Northern California’s history of functional ceramics goes as far back as the beginning of the Twentieth Century. But by the 1960s, Robert Arneson’s work creating humorous and often personal figurative ceramic sculptures — often unrefined and blatant, possessing the idea of a functionless sculpture for sculpture’s sake — pushed clay from primarily a functional craft into its own prestigious art form.

“Talking Heads: Figuration From Northern California Ceramicists” features 13 Bay Area artists (some former students of Arneson) use ceramics as a means of social expression, humor and political context while also creating a dialogue among each other with a focus on figuration. Independent curator Susan Alexander has chosen objects that engage the viewer through subject matter, color and expression.

Included in “Talking Heads” are works from Jeremy Burleson, Julio Del Rio, Raven Harper, Peter Harris, Joe Kowalcyck, Karen May, Tony Natsoulas, Jeff Nebeker, Tiffany Schmierer, Piper Snow, Jonathan Valdivias, Jonathan Velazquez and Billy White.

Susan Alexander is an independent curator working in the Bay Area. She has a specific focus on Art Brut and Outsider Art. Susan was a pivotal co-curator for the symposium on Outsider Art “Altered States, Alternate Worlds” with Creative Growth and the Oakland Museum of California and curated “Color Magicians” at College of Marin. Since 2012, Alexander has maintained an online gallery.

“Talking Heads” is an expanded version of an exhibition originally shown at NIAD Art Center in September 2018.


The Museum of Northern California Art is located at 900 Esplanade in Chico. The opening reception is November 15 6-8 pm.