Interview with Arthur Gonzalez, Front-cover of Issue One and Artist of the month - October 2011

Interview with Arthur Gonzalez, front-cover of Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One
Artist of the month, October 2011

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→ The full interview with Arthur Gonzalez is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One / Winter 2011-2012.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are one of the most assiduous ceramic artists in the world, with hundreds of exhibitions over more than thirty years. Why did you choose this career path?

Arthur Gonzalez: If by career path you mean, “why did I choose to be an artist?” I was one of those guys who always knew that they wanted to be an artist. I honestly cannot remember a time that I did not draw. I remember drawing in kindergarten. I took my first oil painting class with my mother at age 7. I identified with being an artist my whole life so the path was “written on the wall” so to speak. Also, times were different thirty years ago when I graduated from UC Davis. The word “career” was subject to interpretation. I remember that all I wanted to do once I graduated was to do whatever I needed to do to keep making art without needing to work a “regular” job. This was a huge factor, because if one wants to make art their whole life they need to be creative in terms of how to do that. As a consequence, I learned how to make a career instead of only making a lot of things.

Arthur Gonzalez Contemporary Ceramics - Interview Ceramics Now MagazineEverything, 2007, ceramic, glaze, rope, blown glass, ink, epoxy, gold leaf, gut, pollen, 40”x42”x12 - View Arthur Gonzalez’s works

When did you realize that ceramic art was important for you?

My relationship with ceramics has always been a double-edged sword, because I originally didn’t identify with ceramics or sculpture. In the beginning, I used clay to make a better painting!

My formal undergraduate art education at American River College in Sacramento and later California State University was as a photo-realist painter, this was the art movement of the time and all my teachers were photo-realists. I, although formally trained with all the exactitude and precision of a realist, was extremely frustrated. I wanted my paintings to be more expressionistic, spontaneous and “rule breaking”, but the training and dictum of “painting the right way” was so hardwired that I needed to change the very physicality of the painting’s object-ness. I realized that when addressing the white geometric canvas, specifically when the paintbrush approached the edge of the canvas, my gestures would be stilted and choked. I was too intimidated by its rigidity. I remember thinking that if I was too influenced by the edge, then I needed to change that edge.

Meanwhile, at California State University, at the opposite side of campus from the painting lab, was the ceramic department. Two of the professors there were Peter Vandenberge and Robert Brady, both were UC Davis alumni and former students of Robert Arneson. It was by watching them make their clay sculpture and witnessing the ways that they both treated the clay as a mud that did their bidding, that first attracted me to it. This was an epiphanous moment. I remember thinking that clay was the perfect replacement for canvas on stretcher bars. Upon returning to my studio, I slung a number of clay slabs and stretched them on the floor and then fired them, resulting in “bisque canvases” of non-geometric shapes, like a stack of so many pancakes. Then, using oil paint, I reacted to the silhouette of the shape by painting-in imagery that would co-relate to the swells and dips of the randomly shaped ceramic slabs. In my eyes, clay was a remedy not a historical material.  Ironically, I later dispassionately applied to graduate school at UC Davis to study ceramics sculpture under Robert Arneson knowing that I was competing against real ceramic artists who knew more about clay than slinging slabs, which literally was all I knew! It was those first experiments with oil paintings on ceramic slabs that got me into graduate school. My education of clay as a material didn’t start until my time with Robert Arneson. The one thing that I loved about clay was how I now could make things that could distance me from the confines of oil on canvas and, as a result, lifting the weight of the ‘History of Painting’ off my shoulders. When I thought of ceramics, I didn’t see “History” or “Tradition” or “right and wrong”. In fact, I didn’t even think of it as “ceramics”, I thought of it as clay that you made hard. To me the material was only material, and because I came to it through the back door it represented to me to be absolute freedom, a kind of sanctuary from the rules of painting and, as a result, pure invention.

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Interview with Ian F. Thomas, Ceramic Installation - October 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Ian F. Thomas - Ceramic Installation, October 2011

→ Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to receive news and interviews with ceramic artists.
→ The full interview is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One, Winter 2011-2012.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are a very creative artist, working with large scale installations, ceramic objects, sculptures, vessels and various drawings. When do you have time to transpose all your emotions and ideas into them?

Ian F. Thomas: Thank you. I obsess about ideas. My methodology for making, for creating, has me developing many works at the same time, not just in the beginning phases, the thought process, but also during the construction phase. Mold making, throwing, painting, welding, drawing, functional, non-functional—everything that happens, it all develops simultaneously. I enjoy working right up to, and, sometimes, past my limit. I view making work on all of these different platforms, using different materials, and incorporating as many ideas as I can ideas in the same way that I see conversations. Each day I have vastly different types of conversations with many different people; from humorous to serious, political to chit chat and minutiae. When an idea surfaces, the process may demand a particular size, finish, or material. Following the concept and its needs supersedes the necessity of conforming to a particular style or material. 

As a father of two, husband and professor, it is difficult to manage time. My wife, Lori, who is not an artist, has an amazing tolerance for the creatively obsessed mind. If it were not for her support, I would never find the time to work on so many projects. Working with clay, I can take advantage of the timing/drying constraints, and toggle between works, maximizing my available studio time. I have also recently taken on an assistant, Eli Blasko, to help better manage my time so that I can focus more in the studio.

Ian F Thomas Contemporary Ceramic Installation Art

Di-analytic Variables - View Ian F. Thomas’ works
Wheel-thrown, altered, hand-built, earthenware, electric fired cone 02, steel, paint, gold leaf / 38x37x30 inches, 40 lbs

How do you see this relationship between idea/intuition and the final work itself? Is it always continuous or sometimes gap comes through?

The final work is an entity all of its own. An idea starts the work and then intuition supports that idea during the development of the piece. I keep true to a cautious respect for the moment. While I’m in the process of working, my intuition may shift the work’s original intentions, or trigger a new idea(s) that can rearrange the work while I’m still in the process of making it. My idea can fluctuate as much as the physical object I’m making. Using this method, gaps occurs naturally and when that happens, I embrace that.

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Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue nr. 1 / Winter 2011-2012
Arthur  Gonzalez's work is on the cover of the Ceramics Now Magazine Winter  2011-2012 issue, introducing an amazing interview about his work. The  issue also features Roxanne Jackson's work, as well as two partnerships  with the Denver Art Museum (Overthrown: Clay Without Limits) and Keiko  Gallery (Japanese artists).
Issue nr. 1 also presents interviews and articles with new and world-renowned ceramic artists: Claire Muckian, Carol Gouthro, Ian F. Thomas, Cynthia Lahti,  Carole Epp, Simcha Even-Chen, Liza Riddle, Patrick Colhoun, Mark Goudy,  Chang Hyun Bang, Ian Shelly, Shamai Gibsh, Margrieta Jeltema, John  Shirley, Jim Kraft, Connie Norman, Blaine Avery, Antonella Cimatti,  Maciej Kasperski, Wim Borst, Signe Schjøth.
Overthrown - Denver Art Museum:  Gwen F. Chanzit (curator), Katie Caron and Martha Russo, John Roloff,  Clare Twomey, Paul Sacaridiz, Linda Sormin, Del Harrow, Benjamin DeMott,  Mia Mulvey.
Japanese artists - Keiko Gallery:  Niisato Akio, Kawabata Kentaro, Takeuchi Kouzo, Hayashi Shigeki, Tanoue  Shinya, Fujita Toshiaki, Murata Yoshihiko, Jorie Johnson, Takeda Asayo,  Mariko Husain.
Read more about the magazine: www.ceramicsnow.org/magazine
BUY THE FIRST ISSUE NOW FOR JUST $15www.ceramicsnow.org/nr1 + FREE DIGITAL ISSUE
SUBSCRIBE FOR 1-YEAR (4 ISSUES), $59www.ceramicsnow.org/1year + FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue nr. 1 / Winter 2011-2012

Arthur Gonzalez's work is on the cover of the Ceramics Now Magazine Winter 2011-2012 issue, introducing an amazing interview about his work. The issue also features Roxanne Jackson's work, as well as two partnerships with the Denver Art Museum (Overthrown: Clay Without Limits) and Keiko Gallery (Japanese artists).

Issue nr. 1 also presents interviews and articles with new and world-renowned ceramic artists: Claire Muckian, Carol Gouthro, Ian F. Thomas, Cynthia Lahti, Carole Epp, Simcha Even-Chen, Liza Riddle, Patrick Colhoun, Mark Goudy, Chang Hyun Bang, Ian Shelly, Shamai Gibsh, Margrieta Jeltema, John Shirley, Jim Kraft, Connie Norman, Blaine Avery, Antonella Cimatti, Maciej Kasperski, Wim Borst, Signe Schjøth.

Overthrown - Denver Art Museum: Gwen F. Chanzit (curator), Katie Caron and Martha Russo, John Roloff, Clare Twomey, Paul Sacaridiz, Linda Sormin, Del Harrow, Benjamin DeMott, Mia Mulvey.

Japanese artists - Keiko Gallery: Niisato Akio, Kawabata Kentaro, Takeuchi Kouzo, Hayashi Shigeki, Tanoue Shinya, Fujita Toshiaki, Murata Yoshihiko, Jorie Johnson, Takeda Asayo, Mariko Husain.

Read more about the magazine: www.ceramicsnow.org/magazine

BUY THE FIRST ISSUE NOW FOR JUST $15
www.ceramicsnow.org/nr1 + FREE DIGITAL ISSUE

SUBSCRIBE FOR 1-YEAR (4 ISSUES), $59
www.ceramicsnow.org/1year + FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

Ceramics Now Magazine - Digital Issue nr. 1 / Winter 2011-2012
Roxanne Jackson’s work is on the cover of the Ceramics Now Magazine Winter  2011-2012 digital issue, introducing an amazing interview about her work. The  issue also  features Arthur  Gonzalez’s work, as well as two partnerships  with the Denver Art Museum (Overthrown: Clay Without Limits) and Keiko  Gallery (Japanese artists).
Digital Issue nr. 1 also presents interviews and articles with new and  world-renowned ceramic artists: Claire Muckian, Carol Gouthro, Ian F.  Thomas, Cynthia Lahti,  Carole Epp, Simcha Even-Chen, Liza Riddle,  Patrick Colhoun, Mark Goudy,  Chang Hyun Bang, Ian Shelly, Shamai Gibsh,  Margrieta Jeltema, John  Shirley, Jim Kraft, Connie Norman, Blaine  Avery, Antonella Cimatti,  Maciej Kasperski, Wim Borst, Signe Schjøth.
Overthrown - Denver Art Museum:  Gwen F. Chanzit (curator), Katie Caron and Martha Russo, John Roloff,  Clare Twomey, Paul Sacaridiz, Linda Sormin, Del Harrow, Benjamin DeMott,  Mia Mulvey.
Japanese artists - Keiko Gallery:  Niisato Akio, Kawabata Kentaro, Takeuchi Kouzo, Hayashi Shigeki, Tanoue  Shinya, Fujita Toshiaki, Murata Yoshihiko, Jorie Johnson, Takeda Asayo,  Mariko Husain.
Read more about the magazine: www.ceramicsnow.org/magazine
BUY THE DIGITAL ISSUE OF CERAMICS NOW MAGAZINE FOR ONLY $4www.ceramicsnow.org/nr1digital
SUBSCRIBE FOR 1-YEAR (DIGITAL - 4 ISSUES), $15 - BEST DEALwww.ceramicsnow.org/1yeardigital

Ceramics Now Magazine - Digital Issue nr. 1 / Winter 2011-2012

Roxanne Jackson’s work is on the cover of the Ceramics Now Magazine Winter 2011-2012 digital issue, introducing an amazing interview about her work. The issue also features Arthur Gonzalez’s work, as well as two partnerships with the Denver Art Museum (Overthrown: Clay Without Limits) and Keiko Gallery (Japanese artists).

Digital Issue nr. 1 also presents interviews and articles with new and world-renowned ceramic artists: Claire Muckian, Carol Gouthro, Ian F. Thomas, Cynthia Lahti, Carole Epp, Simcha Even-Chen, Liza Riddle, Patrick Colhoun, Mark Goudy, Chang Hyun Bang, Ian Shelly, Shamai Gibsh, Margrieta Jeltema, John Shirley, Jim Kraft, Connie Norman, Blaine Avery, Antonella Cimatti, Maciej Kasperski, Wim Borst, Signe Schjøth.

Overthrown - Denver Art Museum: Gwen F. Chanzit (curator), Katie Caron and Martha Russo, John Roloff, Clare Twomey, Paul Sacaridiz, Linda Sormin, Del Harrow, Benjamin DeMott, Mia Mulvey.

Japanese artists - Keiko Gallery: Niisato Akio, Kawabata Kentaro, Takeuchi Kouzo, Hayashi Shigeki, Tanoue Shinya, Fujita Toshiaki, Murata Yoshihiko, Jorie Johnson, Takeda Asayo, Mariko Husain.

Read more about the magazine: www.ceramicsnow.org/magazine

BUY THE DIGITAL ISSUE OF CERAMICS NOW MAGAZINE FOR ONLY $4
www.ceramicsnow.org/nr1digital

SUBSCRIBE FOR 1-YEAR (DIGITAL - 4 ISSUES), $15 - BEST DEAL
www.ceramicsnow.org/1yeardigital

The twelfth commission in The Unilever Series at Tate Modern in London has been realized by the Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean. Tacita Dean conceived a piece that consists of an eleven-minute silent 35mm film projected onto a monolithic wall erected at the end of a darkened Turbine Hall. The work is entitled Film and deals with the typical nature of the analogue film in contrast to the digital image. Tacita Dean’s film is the first work in The Unilever Series that is devoted to the moving image.

The Unilever Series: Tacita Dean, Tate Modern
11 October 2011 - 11 March 2012

Tacita Dean is a British artist now based in Berlin, best known for her use of film. Dean’s films act as portraits or depictions rather than conventional cinematic storytelling, capturing fleeting natural light or subtle shifts in movement. Her static camera positions and long takes allow events to unfold unhurriedly. Other works have attempted to reconstruct events from memory, such as an infamous thwarted attempt to circumnavigate the world.

Dean’s interest in the cinematic also extends to her work in other media. The Russian Ending 2001 borrows its title from the early Danish cinema tradition of making two alternate endings for a film: one happy for the American market and one tragic for the Russian market. In this work, Dean annotated postcards of catastrophes with director’s notes.

Many of Dean’s works show the ways in which architecture can be transformed by the camera’s lens. Craneway Event 2009 follows the choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) and his dance company rehearsing in a former Ford assembly plant, built of glass and steel and overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Dean’s film allows the ever-changing light of this environment to fall in rhythm with the dancers’ movements.

Dean’s comission is especially designed to respond to the architecture of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The Unilever Series has become renowned as one of the most exciting and impressive contemporary art exhibitions in London each year and it’s free to view.