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PALM LATITUDES

URBAN ART : Bun Chung Redux

July 25, 1993|R. Daniel Foster

After working mostly in "sherbert-colored polyester" for the wardrobe department of the "Lawrence Welk Show," among others, in the early 1980s, David Roesler needed a change. In 1986, he took a Glendale Community College ceramics course in which master potter Robert Kibler demonstrated mishima, a Japanese technique derived from bun chung, developed during Korea's 15th-Century Yi period.

Roesler became enamored of the form in which carved patterns are filled with color then scraped smooth to reveal the inlaid designs. The process is repeated for each color. "There's something about the continual scraping and uncovering of designs that's therapeutic," he says.

Roesler's works have a broader range of colors and patterns than traditional mishima and are often interactive: Some rock when touched; others have stoppers holding ceramic beads. The works, priced from $200 to $2,000, can be found at the Scott Trees Gallery in Los Olivos, Calif., and at galleries in Chicago, Atlanta and Washington. They will also be exhibited at the Couturier Gallery on La Brea in November.

"Working with mishima, " says Roesler, "is like being continually surprised."

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