Larry Buller – Red Lodge Clay Center

Larry BullerLincoln, Nebraska

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2022

Larry earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Phycology, both from the University of Nebraska.  He currently maintains a ceramic studio practice in Lincoln and is a part-time adjunct lecturer with the UNL art department.  For many years Larry was an educator with the Lincoln Public schools teaching primarily pottery at the high school level.

In 2020, Larry’s ceramic work was exhibited at part of the NCECA national show entitled “The Burdens of History.” As a graduate student his work was included in the 2016 NCECA student exhibition.  In 2019, Larry’s work was included as part of the Society of Arts and Crafts Museum exhibition entitle “PRIED” in Boston, Mass.  This national show curated together contemporize work by artists who identify as Queer.

Larry was an artist in residence at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in the winter of 2019.  Recently he was awarded an artist residency at the “Zentrum fur Kuramic” (Center for Ceramics) in Berlin, Germany.

Queer voices are often ignored, marginalized or distorted by the dominate culture.  I find agency in creating ceramic work which at once challenges these narratives and probes the viewer to question previously held beliefs about the nature of sexual identity, masculinity and fetish objects.  Towards that end, I draw upon the humble medium of clay for my admittedly subversive intentions.   Ceramics, with its rich historical language and domestic conations offers one endless freedom for creative expression.  I find inspiration in “high-brow” ceramics typically found in museum collections as well as “low-brow” tchotchkes encountered at thrift stores.  My work is a blending of both and seeks to question what might be considered to be in “good taste.”  I create plaster molds of fetish objects which are then slip cast into multiples, glazed and embellished with floral decals, gold luster, fur, and fake gemstones.   When complete, they resemble showy domestic tableware.  Displaying these objects in public bring them “out of the closet” thereby demystifying their use and celebrating their beauty and implied function.

I also create work that focusses on the manner in which gay men self-identify and classify themselves into categories in online hookup sites and/or adopt a persona.   These distinctions often revolve around sexual preferences and one’s penchant for top, bottom or in some cases one’s versatility.   These predilections are often communicated digitally through the use of emojis such as the peach (bottom) and the eggplant (top).  I appropriate the emoji symbol and create ceramic forms that take inspiration from historic examples found in Asian funerary alters.    Elaborate compotes hold these peaches and eggplants and become ostentatious centerpieces.   To most casual observers these pieces may first appear purely decorative but gay men will immediately understand the double meaning.

My figurines speak to the manner in which some gay men identify with sub-cultures within the gay community.   These men may adopt personas such as leather sirs, daddies, puppies, drag queens or otters to name a few.  These “china cabinet ready” figurines are of diminutive domestic scale and meant to celebrate the rich diversity within the gay sub-culture and the manner in which gay men seek to find community.

My ceramic work celebrates sexuality, fetish objects and the vast diversity in the manner gay men choose to express their identify and thrive in the face of persistent homophobia.