Kenneth Price

(1935 – 2012)

Kenneth Price moved from Los Angeles to Taos in 1970, the same year Tamarind relocated the workshop to New Mexico. Price is known for his influential work in ceramics, and often associated with the Finish Fetish school of artists working in Los Angeles, including Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, and Larry Bell, who were similarly known for their use of meticulous industrial finishes and brilliant colors associated with southern California. Price had only one museum survey exhibition of his work during his lifetime, which was organized by the Menil Collection in Houston in 1992. A major survey exhibition opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2012, the year he died.

Price was invited to participate in Tamarind’s 15th anniversary portfolio, Suite Fifteen, in 1975. This thirty-five color lithograph he created for the portfolio captures the optimism and vibrant palette of his work from this time. His prints often draw upon the compositional elements of traditional Japanese woodblock prints, with a vantage point that hovers from above, looking down on the scene. Here, the southern California landscape with its palm trees and industry seems to morph with the New Mexico landscape and architecture, and Price presents the fictionalized space as though in cartouches or imaginary openings. The critic Lucy R. Lippard described Price as “something of a Surrealist, something of a purist, something of an expressionist, something of a naturalist.”

This is the last print that remains available from his long association with Tamarind, where he first started experimenting with lithography in the late 1960s.