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Contemporary Ceramics Installation by Richard Cleaver
Richard Cleaver. Detail, Gathering. 2004. Courtesy the artist.

BALTIMORE, MD.- Dreams and memories intermingle in Richard Cleaver: Gathering at the Latrobe Spring House, an exhibition of more than 100 hand-built and painted ceramic figures by Baltimore-based artist Richard Cleaver. This 9-foot-tall, altar-like installation in the BMA’s Latrobe Spring House is the latest in the artist’s ongoing series of works that includes speculation on the family life of slaves who lived on Oakland Farm, the original location of the Spring House during the 19th century.

On display for six weeks as part of the Tour de Clay—a regional showcase of clay artists from around the world—visitors will have the opportunity to venture outside of the Museum to the circa 1812 Spring House (located on the west side of the Museum grounds) to view the installation, the first time art has been on display in this historic building in more than 60 years. Designed by renowned American architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the Greek revival Spring House was moved from Oakland Farm in north Baltimore—near artist Cleaver’s current home and studio—to its current site on the west grounds of the BMA in 1932. It was restored in 2003 with support from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation. Admission to the Spring House is free.

The elaborate display features figures ranging in size from a few inches to 4 feet tall that represent characters from past and present, both realand mythological, who have been important to the artist during his life, including his grandmother in pink slippers and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Painstakingly painted and gold-leafed, the figures are surrounded by branches and vines threaded with semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls, and some have faces and torsos that open to reveal other figures.

The Spring House will be open during regular Museum hours. Museum admission is not required to visit the Spring House.

Richard Cleaver: Gathering at the Latrobe Spring House is curated by BMA Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Jay Fisher and the BMA’s Sylvia Friedberg Nachlas Chair of Museum Education Linda Andre.

This exhibition is generously supported by Roger M. Dalsheimer and an anonymous donor.

RICHARD CLEAVER - Richard Cleaver has been carving figures out of clay for more than 30 years. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The artist has exhibited across the nation, including recent solo exhibitions at the Noyes Museum (NJ), Villa Julie College (Stevenson, MD), the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (New York and Miami), and in group exhibitions at Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA), International Sculpture Center (Washington, DC) and the Erie Art Museum (PA). Additionally, Mr. Cleaver's work is displayed in public collections at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. Awards include the National Endowment for the Arts, Evergreen Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council and The Trawick Prize.

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