For centuries, artists and critics have argued the merits of form versus function in not only the art world, but in everyday life. It is often difficult to determine the specific role that art plays in our society when many pieces found in museums lack any discernible practicality. While aesthetic choices almost always play a role in which sculptures or paintings become priceless works of art and which are labeled junk, artist David D. Gilbaugh of La Crescenta has discovered a way to ensure that his work is appreciated beyond merely pleasing the eye.
Gilbaugh is a sculptor who works primarily in paper clay, a forgiving type of clay that lends itself generously to a broad range of movements and positions. Another benefit to using paper clay is that the finished product develops a natural, earthy tone. This is perfect for sculpting items that resemble rock formations, stone carvings or even battered tree stumps. Gilbaugh's ceramics are incredible examples of paper clay's natural earthiness. They are also indicative of the artist's penchant for emphasizing function as much as form, though.