"The story here is that Carla is very much a product of this environment.
Some of those creations -- 57 ceramic sculptures and "miniatures" entitled "Dark Garden" -- have been assembled for an exhibit that opened Thursday at
"It's very, very powerful work," said Cooperman, 51, The Haggin's curator of education. "It's beautiful. It really embodies a number of sensibilities of '80s and early '90s ceramic art, which was really powerful."
"She would have matured into being widely known," said Cooperman, a sculptor who's also an adjunct art professor at Pacific. "She's the real thing. Absolutely. Absolutely. Technically. Her vision. The way each piece has such a presence is very compelling."
No wonder. Carla and Christa, 58, grew up with art in their "blood."
The exhibit evolved after
The fragile sculptures had been wrapped very protectively by the Malones' father -- Marvin, a print-maker and painter who was a pharmacology professor at Pacific -- and stored in the house's garage near
Cooperman was impressed. She and Malone also obtained pieces of Carla's sculpture from
"I said I would do it if I could handle all the art work," said
A few of Carla's sculptures -- made from Mother Lode clay (Quyle Kilns in
"It's interesting," she said. "It's part of a little puzzle for me. I didn't have a lot to work with. Some were identified by time. Some were not. I did have letters from her about how she was making these tiny, tiny little coils."
Those letters are part of the exhibit. Some sculptures had to omitted because "we couldn't cram them all into" the
"Oh, gosh," Christa said of Carla's artistic inspiration. "Since we were little our parents had us doing art all the time. They collected art. There were lots of art books around. On vacations, we'd go to museums and galleries. It's in the blood."
She's also created carlamalone.weebly.com to preserve and promote her sister's legacy.
"I call myself a hand-maiden to the dead," Christa said with a wry sense of wit. "Literally. It hasn't been fun."
A retired editor who worked for the
Her sister's artistic legacy stay with her. Forever.
"The special thing is everyone -- everyone -- has a different reaction," Christa said. "Everyone has something different to say. There are these two 'heads.' One is very ominous. One is very whimsical. Everything is abstract, but the anthropomorphic fire clearly suggests heads."
"It's very emotional," Cooperman said of the collection. "It plays a lot with the idea of duality. This attraction and repulsion is appealing. It's quirky with a dark humor that's a little menacing. There's visual tension. There are little spikes. Little windows you wanna peak through."
While the clay substances, some of them five decades old, are fragile, the lasting impression remains strong. A
The first person Christa met 45 years ago in
"Really, it's funny," Christa said. "To think of all the people I graduated with I never thought would amount to anything, They all turned out really well. I don't know. Something's going on. It's '
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