Using the traditional pinch-and-coil method, Ursula Morley Price begins her ceramic sculptures with a bowl, vase or bottle shape as armature. The signature flanges in her work are applied to the armature in even, closely-spaced rows that run vertically on the form or twist around it. The flanges themselves may reflect the underlying shape of the rows, or have ripples, twists, or double-twists added in rhythmic combinations. The shape of the flanges allows for the play of light and shadow across the sculptures, and imparts a dynamic movement to the work. Price glazes her sculptures monochromatically, in rich, dark browns or pale whites, sometimes with flanges edged in a darker tone. Each possesses a distinctively matte surface texture.
The suggestion of movement is the main characteristic of Price’s ceramic sculptures. In the wide bowl forms, the flanges are carried from the outside into the interior of the form and down to the base, creating a swirling effect, while in narrower bowls, they undulate down the exterior with rhythmic energy. Pinched almost paper-thin, the flanges sometimes impart an illusion of wind rippling across the surfaces of the sculptures. Seen from above, the shapes can recall spinning turbines or the natural vorticity in a whirlpool. In several disc-like bottle shapes, the characteristic narrow necks employed in previous work have evolved into wider, more pronounced butterfly-shaped openings. In the vase forms, the flanges widen at the top, surging upward and springing forth blade-like with curved tops and sharply tapered edges, imparting a buoyant energy to the sculptures.
Price, now 81 years old, was born in London and has been living in a small village in the Charentes region of southwestern France since 1973. She has been exhibiting internationally since the mid-1970s. Her ceramics are found in numerous public collections, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and Museum of Arts and Design, as well as many others across the United States. Her work is in the collection of the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Musée National de Céramique in Sèvres, France, as well as museums in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. In 2013 the Musée d’Art Moderne de Troyes in France mounted a career retrospective exhibition of Ursula Morley Price’s sculptures.
Roberta Smith, "Art in Review: Ursula Morley Price," The New York Times, December 22, 2017