Ceramic artists list
> Ceramic artists list 100. Tim Rowan 99. Graciela Olio 98. Michal Fargo 97. Ryan Blackwell 96. Ellen Schön 95. Francesco Ardini 94. David Gallagher 93. Elizabeth Shriver 92. Jason Hackett 91. Patricia Sannit 90. Bente Skjøttgaard 89. Steve Belz 88. Ruth Power 87. Jenni Ward 86. Liliana Folta 85. Kira O'Brien 84. Annie Woodford 83. Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso 82. Bogdan Teodorescu 81. Kimberly Cook 80. Paula Bellacera 79. Debra Fleury 78. Cindy Billingsley 77. David Gilbaugh 76. Teresa & Helena Jané 75. Marianne McGrath 74. Suzanne Stumpf 73. Deborah Britt 72. Kathy Pallie 71. Els Wenselaers 70. Kjersti Lunde 69. Brian Kakas 68. Marie T. Hermann 67. Mark Goudy 66. Susan Meyer 65. Simcha Even-Chen 64. Barbara Fehrs 63. Shamai Gibsh 62. Natalia Dias 61. Bethany Krull 60. Amanda Simmons 59. Arthur Gonzalez 58. Chris Riccardo 57. Akiko Hirai W 56. Johannes Nagel 55. Rika Herbst 54. Liza Riddle 53. Chang Hyun Bang 52. Virginie Besengez 51. Jasmin Rowlandson 50. Chris Wight 49. Wim Borst 48. Rafael Peréz 47. Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir 46. Cathy Coëz 45. Merete Rasmussen 44. Carol Gouthro 43. JoAnn Axford 42. David Carlsson 41. Margrieta Jeltema 40. David Roberts 39. Patrick Colhoun 38. Abigail Simpson 37. Signe Schjøth 36. Katharine Morling 35. Dryden Wells 34. Antonella Cimatti 33. Cynthia Lahti 32. Carole Epp 31. Blaine Avery 30. Ian Shelly 29. Jim Kraft 28. Wesley Anderegg 27. Connie Norman 26. Arlene Shechet 25. Young Mi Kim 24. Jason Walker 23. Peter Meanley 22. Shane Porter 21. Jennifer McCurdy 20. Yoichiro Kamei 19. Debbie Quick 18. Ian F Thomas 17. John Shirley 16. Grayson Perry 15. Vivika & Otto Heino 14. Georges Jeanclos 13. Daniel Kavanagh 12. Nagae Shigekazu 11. Matthew Chambers 10. Tim Andrews 9. Claire Muckian 8. Adam Frew 7. Maciej Kasperski 6. Roxanne Jackson 5. Keith Schneider 4. Celeste Bouvier 3. Tim Scull 2. Kim Westad 1. Sara Paloma

overthrown clay without limits

Overthrown: Clare Twomey, Collecting the edges. 2011. Red clay dust. Site-specific project for the Denver Art Museum supported by Jana and Fred Bartlit. Photo by Jeff Wells. #6

  • Overthrown: Clare Twomey, Collecting the edges. 2011. Red clay dust. Site-specific project for the Denver Art Museum supported by Jana and Fred Bartlit. Photo by Jeff Wells. #4

  • Overthrown: Clare Twomey, Collecting the edges. 2011. Red clay dust. Site-specific project for the Denver Art Museum supported by Jana and Fred Bartlit. Photo by Jeff Wells. #3

  • Overthrown: Del Harrow, Wedgewood Black Hive/Hole, 2011. Slip-cast black porcelain. / Links, 2011. Earthenware, glaze, and platinum luster. / Copper Fade, 2011. Earthenware and glaze. Photo by Jeff Wells.

  • Overthrown: Benjamin DeMott, Untitled Thumbnail, porcelain, paint, glue, glaze, gum, 2011, H 6” x W 9” x D 7”. Photo by Jeff Wells. #2

  • Overthrown: Benjamin DeMott, Untitled Thumbnail, porcelain, paint, glue, glaze, gum, 2011, H 6” x W 9” x D 7”. Photo by Jeff Wells.

  • Interview with Clare Twomey, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition

    Interview with Clare Twomey, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    The special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition includes images from the exhibition and interviews with some of the exhibiting artists, plus with the curator. Subscribe.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Collecting the edges is the name of your work exhibited at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition. It’s a site-specific project that enhances the corners and the ceiling of the space, but it also enhances the edges of the exhibition. Tell us about this project.

    Clare Twomey : Collecting the edges is a response to the architecture of the two buildings one designed by Ponte and the other by libeskind. The work I made collects and focuses their shared dialogues of space and light across the whole museum site. When moving thought the two buildings you become aware of the complexity of architecture of both guiding you through the depth and layers of the buildings, my work responds to this. The soft rich clay dust has collected in the edges of these architectual details and staggering flights of space in both buildings. The clay acts as one authorship uniting the two buildings for the time of this exhibition.
    The pure red Colorado clay drifts describe the material alone, the way they ease up against the architecture describe the shapes and light in the building.
    The temporary nature of this work allows it to be at a different pace to the monumental structures it is formed by. It is a reminder of a moment in time, rather than a permanent demand.

    Clare Twomey, Collecting the edges. 2011. Red clay dust. Site-specific project for the Denver Art Museum supported by Jana and Fred Bartlit. Photo by Jeff Wells

    Ceramics Now Magazine: From all the artists exhibiting at the Overthrown, you seem to have an outstanding easiness of making site-specific installations. Where did you learn this? (Or is it learnable?)

    Clare Twomey: When I left the RCA 15 years ago installation work in the field of the applied arts was in its infancy. This allowed me to create my own language of large scale and temporary works that did not become a competitive language but a meaningful exploration of potential within a material specific dialogue.
    Through critical appraisal and practical learning in visual languages and context the work I have made has developed and is nurtured by all the wonderful curators I have had the opportunity to work with. In all the projects I have worked on the curators and myself have only hoped to make new work that can question the current contexts of making and meaning within the structures of craft, clay and the wider visual arts. Part of this is my personal drive to make work that continues to challenge the work i have made and that I want to making the future. To learn this is to only look at a set of skills, to want to be immersed in this, is a personal undertaking that involves the kind of risk that is outside of a given learning environment.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Your previous works have been exhibited at Tate and Victoria and Albert Museum; how did you receive Gwen Chanzit’s invitation of exhibiting your works at the Denver Art Museum? With excitement, or with reservations? You can also tell us how long it took to come up with the project.

    Clare Twomey : When I was installing my work “a dark day in Paradise” 2010 at the Brighton Pavilion I received a phone call from Gwen Chanzit. I remember this clearly as I was sitting in a chair looking at a stuffed duck on a platter in the grand kitchen whilst also directing the composition of hundreds of black ceramic butteries from the ceiling in the great kitchen.
    Gwen talked with great passion and intelligence of the museums intention to focus on clay across the whole museum for the duration of summer 2011. This was an amazing idea that a whole museum and its collection would lay emphasis on one material. I was immediately taken with the ambition of this and Gwen’s invitation to make a new work across the whole museums architecture was second to none. This felt like it would be a defining moment to examine scale, architecture and languages across a broad site.

    Clare Twomey, Collecting the edges. 2011. Red clay dust. Site-specific project for the Denver Art Museum supported by Jana and Fred Bartlit. Photo by Jeff Wells

    My work would sit across the whole museum and also reach into the contemporary clay exhibition – Clay with out limits. The artists invited to this exhibition were all my contemporaries, they are the defining makers of our time, I was thrilled to have a shared dialogue in this context. It was a privilege to be invited to make a vast work and be in the context of such a ground breaking and enabling exhibition.

    From London to Denver we shared books, pictures and architectural plans, Gwen visited my studio in London and I made a site visit to the Museum. When visiting a site one must arrive with a very open mind, I had on our first visit no planned ideas for the work. I made a response to the architecture I experienced and this was vastly influential in the development of the concept.
    The whole development happened in one year from invitation through to delivery in the museum. The museum was incredibly supportive of a challenging work.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What do you think about the exhibition, about it’s scale? Overall, there are 25 exhibiting artists.

    Clare Twomey: The exhibition Clay without limits is a moment in time; the lead thinkers and makers of clay work in the USA and beyond responded with ambition to Gwen’s invitation. The nature of Gwen’s invitation is the core of the curatorial prowess of the exhibition. She approach the artists and gave them an opportunity to make works for the future, each artist I feel has not done what they did before, Gwen’s good curatorial sensibilities drew out the best work these makers have produced to date. It is a great exhibition.

    The groups of artists that are bound together in this exhibition possibly for the first time, here they are seen as a movement. We can see in the landscape of making how these artists make sense as a group, a large group. We can see what happens at the centre what happens on the edges. If this show had been any smaller it may have replicated exhibitions that came before but its scale means that now we can see clearly where we are now and what the future holds.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What are you working on now? What are your future plans?

    Clare Twomey : I am currently the artist residence at the Victoria &Albert Museum in London. This is a 6-month residence that is in a studio in the middle of the ceramics collection. The residency acts as live studio in the museum; I am working experimental works looking authenticity and multiples. The web pages that link to this are http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/people-pages/clare-twomey/
    As research Fellow at the University of Westminster I have just started work on a 3-year project that investigates the history and impact of ceramic installation in museums. Within this project given funding from the AHRC myself and my fellow investigators Christie Brown and Edmund de Waal will be publishing works, a website and a collection of texts.
    The next fully formed work that will be on exhibit is that for an Art Museum in Bergen, Permanenten The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art. For the exhibition Thing Tang Trash-Up cycling in Contemporary Ceramics. This work is a vast work that spreads from the grand entrance to the main exhibition gallery.

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    Born in 1968, UK, Clare Twomey lives and works in London, UK.

    Clare Twomey is a British artist and a research fellow at the University of Westminster who works with clay in large-scale installations, Sculpture and site-specific works. Over the past 10 years she has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Crafts Council, Museum of Modern Art Kyoto Japan, the Eden Project and the Royal Academy of Arts.

    Within these works Twomey has maintained her concerns with materials, craft practice and historic and social context.

    Clare Twomey’s installations have the social and historical context in which the installation is created as their point of departure. Often they only exist within these frameworks. A number of her installations disappear or perish in the course of the exhibition period as part of the work. Often the onlooker’s mode of behaviour is conceptually included in Twomey’s works. This, for example, applied to the artwork Conscience/Consciousness (2003), in which Twomey had covered the floor of the gallery with very thin ceramic tiles which broke when trodden on.

    At the Brighton Pavilion she housed thousands of black butterflies that became a veil of mourning in amongst the wonderful yet menacing rooms of the Pavilion creating a discussion about the indulgence and excess of the building and its creation.

    At the Royal Academy she worked with the traditional flower makers in stoke on Trent to make hundreds of exotic flowers in a work titled Specimen that examined the protection of objects and the destruction of objects as the flowers were not fired and exposed to the publics touch through the exhibition. This vulnerability relates top the losing of craft skills in Stoke on Trent.

    Clare Twomey is actively involved in critical research in the area of the applied arts, including writing, curating and making. She has developed work, which expands the fields’ knowledge of larger scale installation works.

    Visit Clare Twomey’s website.

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    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

  • Interview with Mia Mulvey, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition

    Interview with Mia Mulvey, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    The special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition includes images from the exhibition and interviews with some of the exhibiting artists, plus with the curator. Subscribe.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Tell us about Mast Year, your work exhibited at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition.

    Mia Mulvey : I chose the Oak, America’s National Tree, because it has long been a symbol of endurance and strength. The title, Mast Year, refers to the phenomenon in which Oak trees produce a prodigious abundance of fruit. This proliferation has been recreated with emblems of beauty and nature: birds, butterflies and moths.  Lacking life and using forms present in death such as bird “skins” and insect mounts, the connection between the tree and the fauna (pins and cable ties) highlight the forced, unnatural attempts to recreate the sublime by using synthetic, man made modes of connection. Historically, swarms and flocks and have been viewed as omens of both luck and death and such sights in nature are rare if not completely absent. The ultimate goal of Mast Year is to invoke something beautiful yet dark that speaks to the fragility of nature as well as the more poetic and undefined feelings of loss and the desire to exert control despite its futility.

    Mia Mulvey, Mast Year, 2011. Stoneware, porcelain, cable ties, and pins. Photo by Jeff Wells.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Your works have a very strong connection with nature, and you can almost say that they are indeed natural. How come you are exhibiting them in museums? Shouldn’t they be part of a free, wild space?

    Mia Mulvey: I am interested in creating sculptures that, while realistic in form, are models or copies. Like plaster casts found in both art and science museums they stand in for the original that exists someplace else. They are re-creations that reveal and highlight our misconceptions, viewpoints and our “understanding” of the world.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: Why did you take this challenge of exploring the nature in a scientific way? Are you trying to replicate the nature?

    Mia Mulvey : The idea of replication and recreation is central to this piece. It is both integral to the concept as well as technically significant. In my work I spend a great deal of time making sure my work is real and factual. I spend a great deal of researching and manipulating my forms so that they are as realistic as possible.I want my work to correlate to a nature “out there” that exists in one form or another. In Mast Year, it exemplifies a nature that we are trying to put back together.

    As to why am I exploring nature in a scientific way? I am continually inspired by science, specifically the ideas of discovery and wonder. Albertus Magnus defined wonder as: “Wonder is the movement of the man who does not know on his way to finding out, to get at the bottom of that which he wonders and to determine its cause.” 
    Under this definition, wonder is not a static moment; it is the moment of inspiration through the act of learning and discovering the truth. These ideas are present both as concepts in my work as well as guides for my studio process and research.

    Mia Mulvey, Mast Year, detail, 2011. Stoneware, porcelain, cable ties, and pins. Photo by Jeff Wells.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: You are inspired by an environment that is eternal - the natural world, but unfortunately, your works (or anybody’s works), are ephemeral. Are you disturbed by this, or are you happy with the fact that some day your works will be taken away by nature?

    Mia Mulvey: I view this as opposite really. For me, nature is ephemeral and our understanding of the natural world and science is always changing. Part of the reason I work with ceramics (porcelain specifically) is that is has a history of delicacy and beauty in tandem with strength and longevity. Ceramics hold up remarkably well while many other things decay. For Mast Year I wanted to juxtapose fragility with strength both physically and conceptually.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What will you be working on in the near future?

    Mia Mulvey : I am very excited to spend the rest of the year back in the studio. I have long been interested in digital tools and how I can use them with ceramics.  For Mast Year, I worked with a material called porcelain tape (Keraflex).  I experimented with a laser cutter and developed a process for cutting and handling the material to achieve pieces more delicate and exact than I could create by hand (the butterflies and moths).  I plan on starting on a series of works which explore these new possibilities and also incorporates 3-dimensional printing. 

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    "The scientific and museum context identifies a system based on order, fact and discovery. It is within this system of scientific display, process and ideology that my work exists. Museums of Science and Natural History evolved from the curiosity cabinets of the 16th and 17th centuries. These collections were displays of specimens, oddities, art and inventions. They permitted the viewer to relive the moment of discovery and to inspire ‘wonder’. In the 18th century there began a shift, instead of poetic spectatorship objects began to be classified and ordered. Taxonomy gave way to the museums of natural history and the museums of art. I am utilizing the scientific/ museum context to explore the notions of ‘wonder’ and the ‘real’. . In my work I am inspired by science and in it our ability to discover wonder. In nature, we are faced with a familiar but superficially understood natural world. It is through such discoveries of wonder and beauty that we deepen our understanding of the inner workings of nature and how they may be applied to our lives.

    In Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Albertus Magnus wrote:
”Wonder is the movement of the man who does not know on his way to finding out, to get at the bottom of that which he wonders and to determine its cause.”
    Under this definition, wonder is not a static moment; it is the process from the unfamiliar towards understanding. I am interested in the illustrative, educational representation of objects that reflect the notions of wonder and natural beauty. Nature is an infinite spectrum of such ideas. Through science and mathematics this world can be delved into and discoveries of wonder can be made. Through the investigation of scientific processes and contexts I can present real and imaginary objects that hint at the multi-layered discoveries of wonder, innovation and beauty found in nature. I seek to present the unknown and make the irrational rational.” Mia Mulvey

    Visit Mia Mulvey’s website.

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    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

  • Interview with Paul Sacaridiz, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition

    Interview with Paul Sacaridiz, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    The special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition includes images from the exhibition and interviews with some of the exhibiting artists, plus with the curator. Subscribe.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Tell us about your work exhibited at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition.

    Paul Sacaridiz : An incomplete articulation is a new work designed for the Denver Art Museum. The piece utilizes the conceptual framework of a schematic diagram to point towards differing ways of articulating form. Sagging mounds of ceramic extrusions are situated alongside precise mathematical models and awkward structural forms. Individual components are physically and conceptually networked together, creating an elaborate three-dimensional system of mapping that becomes suggestive of propositional models and utopian systems. The work is comprised of objects that are intentionally fabricated in a variety of ways, ranging from digitally rendered and prototyped to more direct, analog processes. 

    Paul Sacaridiz, An Incomplete Articulation, 2011. Cast, extruded, pinched ceramic, wood, powder coated aluminium, cut vinyl, board. Photo by Jeff Wells.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Does your work, An Incomplete Articulation, trying to reach an agreement between simple/ decorative and geometric/ architectural forms?

    Paul Sacaridiz : For a number of years, my work has looked at the visual correlation between domestic objects, such as decorative food molds, and the actual structures of built architecture. In many of these works, the approach to abstraction has relied upon decoration and pattern becoming something structural, rather than simply applied to a surface. An incomplete articulation follows this approach, but is less metaphorical than past projects. Ultimately, the piece is a response to considering systems of abstraction and the seemingly impossible task of understanding something in its entirety.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: You have an amazing ability of transforming every-day forms and simple objects into a complex statement. Isn’t it hard? From our experience, keeping it simple is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

    Paul Sacaridiz: There is a tipping point in every piece, that place where what you have done is simply too much. One of the greatest challenges that I set for myself is figuring out what can be removed before the overall work starts to break down. This results in a very slow pace of observing and responding to a piece of sculpture. As time has passed, I am most interested in exploring a sculptural logic that is both pragmatic and highly allusive at the same time. This relies on a specific balance, which has to be reevaluated with each project.

    Paul Sacaridiz, An Incomplete Articulation, detail, 2011. Cast, extruded, pinched ceramic, wood, powder coated aluminium, cut vinyl, board. Photo by Jeff Wells.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What advice can you give to those who look at your works? Should they be aware of something in particular?

    Paul Sacaridiz: Looking at sculpture should be experiential; the scale of the work and its materiality are as critical to the overall reading as conceptual concerns. Viewing work should never be a passive activity and one needs to be engaged in deciphering images and objects at a multitude of levels. If I have done my job correctly there will be multiple entry points in any given piece. There are many tropes that allow this to happen, and they should be taken as such. If an object appears to be beautiful or illogical, it has the capacity to operate on an emotive or philosophical level. Both are equally valuable, and afford a jumping off point from which one can look at something from a position of curiosity, questioning and wonder.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where can we find you and your works in the next future?
     
    Paul Sacaridiz : I am on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will be teaching a workshop next summer at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, in Deer Isle, Maine.  Over the next year I will be working on a project that seeks to explore the limitations of three-dimensional scanning and the possibility of translating that information into tangible objects. Scanning is generally successful with objects that are solid volumes and therefore “readable” as a continuous surface. My primary interest is in scanning things that are not single surfaces, but rather conglomerations of multiple layers. Such information may prove challenging, if not impossible to fully record, resulting in a surface that is technically a failure in terms of the computers ability to read and render it in a complete mathematical state.  I see this research as being as much a question of physical possibilities and limitations (of machinery, technology, etc…) as a philosophical investigation into abstraction and the limitations of understanding something that is perhaps impossible to fully grasp.

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    Paul Sacaridiz (b.1970, Brooklyn, NY, lives and works in Madison, WI) received an MFA (1998) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from Alfred University (1993).

    Since 1997 he has been active in solo exhibitions, collaborative projects and group shows at a diverse number of venues including: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Icheon World Ceramic Center, Icheon, Korea, The Dubuque Museum of Art (IA), The Alfedena Gallery, Chicago, The Northern Illinois University Art Museum and the Ceramic Research Center at Arizona State University. His work has been the subject of reviews and articles in Ceramics: Art and Perception, The New Art Examiner and Art Papers among others.  Sacaridiz has been the recipient of residencies at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center and the Art/Industry Program at Kohler Company.

    He is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Visit Paul Sacaridiz’s website.

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    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

  • Interview with John Roloff, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition

    Interview with John Roloff, exhibiting artist at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    The special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition includes images from the exhibition and interviews with ten exhibiting artists, plus with the curator. At the end of July, we will also send a special newsletter to our subscribers. Subscribe here to receive the special edition of our newsletter.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: You use many materials and different techniques when making your works. What did you learn from the process?

    John Roloff: The earth materials (and photo images) used in The Sea Within The Land/Laramide were based upon paleogeographic research of the site.  A lot was learned about the previous landscapes and geologic materials/processes involved and their relationship to the current central Colorado landscape.  These materials (as are all) have many narratives or stories that can be viewed through one lens or another.  The lens I am most familiar with or knowledgeable is geologic transformation, history and process which informs my relationship to the materials and how I might work with or present them.  For the mold/casting sculptural element, I used a variation of an unfired rammed earth process, this state of materiality is copasetic with the very low degrees of lithification and metamorphism of the sediments relative to the geologic and landscape concepts used in the project.  I often look for analogs to natural processes for how I might interpret how to work with  materials or sites.

    John Roloff, The Sea Within the Land/Laramide, Landscape Projection, Seascape Structure 31


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What’s your connection to the sea, to the magic and eternal world of the ocean? Your work The Sea Within The Land/Laramide approached this matter.

    John Roloff : A basic idea of this project is that in many ways the ocean and the land are analogs of each other, so in this regard the land is also magic and co-eternal as well as co-mutable and co-evolving.  I think it is really beautiful that much of the land in the middle of North America was the result of marine depositional processes, sediments slowly settling or precipitating and consolidating on the sea floor.  Two selections from poems of the poet Gary Snyder have been very inspirational to me for many years have resurfaced and found their way into recent lectures:

            Red ooze of the North Pacific — only shark’s teeth and the
            earbones of whales.  An endless mist of skeletons, settling
            to the ocean floor.

    (Japan First Time Around, “Anita Maru” at sea, 7: V: 56, Earth House Hold, 1957), and


            sea-bed strata raised and folded,
                 granite far below.
            warm quiet centuries of rain
                 (make dark red tropic soils)….

    (What Happened Here Before, Turtle Island, 1974)


    In the Colorado area during the Cretaceous, the Tethys Sea, an incursion from the south (now Gulf of Mexico region) merged with the Mowrey Sea from the north to create what is called the Interior Seaway, rich with Mesozoic dramas of life and death and an ongoing erosion of the surrounding land sending clays, silts and sands into the sea, later to be further eroded by human agency in the Holocene and transformed into brick, paving, artifacts and re-deposited as the Denver built environment, which is currently undergoing erosion… the cycle continues..


    Ceramics Now Magazine: Why did you took this challenge of working mainly on site-specific projects? Do you find it easy to express yourself through the openness of the space, rather than to an exhibition space?

    John Roloff : For me these spaces are really the same space, it is difficult for me to see architecture (or space definition in certain terms) without considering the origin of the materials of the building itself and some relationship to the space it encompasses.  A building for me is a landscape made out of previous landscapes, which has an effect on the space, either of the building or its paleogeographic history – how that transformation (from one landscape to another) occurred through this lens, is the product of generations of climatic systems, earth forces and human agency to name a few  (see question 2 above).  This attitude, I believe, is a basic extrapolation of more familiar site-based strategies.  In this sense it is not really a question of ease or expediency more of perception, extrapolation and intrinsic relationships.

    John Roloff, Landscape Projection, SeaLand 2B

    Ceramics Now Magazine: How long it takes to make a project like this? (ex: for the Overthrown exhibition)

    John Roloff: Gwen Chanzit, curator of Overthrown, visited my studio in mid- 2010 and invited me to so site research and photography in early December of that year to further develop a basic idea I was interested in to work the the central Colorado landscape and my previous knowledge of what is called the Cretaceous Interior Seaway, an broad incursion of the ocean into the middle of the North American continent about 90 million years ago and that some of the current landscape would be made of sediments deposited at that time.  The themes of Sea/Land, Land/Sea, Sea/Sea and Land/Land is intrinsic to my work.  As in this project, 6-9 months are typical due to an often complex array of research, gestation and implementation.
         

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where can we find you and your works in the next future? What are your plans?

    John Roloff: I am working on several projects, one hopefully for the Exporatorium in San Francisco when it re-opens along waterfront, a couple of public art projects in the works for many years in Oakland, CA and Minneapolis, MN, that may come to fruition this year or next and a lot of on-going research for other works.  One thing I am hoping will happen in a panel/conversation for NCECA Seattle 2012 with John Delaney, a scientist  from the University of Washington, working on an amazing project that includes a huge array of real-time sensors gathering data on the active Juan deFuca plate off the coast of Washington – forces driving the evolution of the North Western North American landscape, the eruption of Mt St. Helens, growth and potential activity of Mt. Ranier and other Cascade Range volcanoes, etc.  

    John Roloff, Landscape Projection, SeaLand 3B

    Ceramics Now Magazine: We somehow find your works complementing Ai Weiwei’s works. You are both searching for/ and trying to learn about the human’s conditions, but you are approaching this through our Earth’s history and throught nature (unlike Ai Weiwei’s political themes). What do you think about the Ai Weiwei’s detention? (the recent crackdown on artists)

    John Roloff : For me the situation of his detention in China is first unfortunate on many levels that one could easily imagine and be sympathetic with.  At, I think, a more important level, I am interested in his situation and the relationship of risk, artistic process and the formulation of questions of our time, whether political, ecological, perceptual and/or existential.  In a way it seems natural that Ai Weiwei would be challenged by his government as his work is challenging many ideas including political ones of theirs.  My thought is to see his situation is a very broad context critical to the asking, visualization and engagement with fundamental questions for our time as well as the role of the artist in society/nature.

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    John Roloff is a visual artist who works conceptually with site, process and natural systems. He is known primarily for his outdoor kiln/furnace projects done from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s as well as other large-scale environmental and gallery installations investigating geologic and natural phenomena. He studied geology at UC Davis, Davis, CA with Professor Eldridge Moores and others during the formative days of plate tectonics in the mid-1960’s. Subsequently, he studied art with Bob Arneson and William T. Wiley also at UC Davis in the late 1960’s. In addition to numerous environmental, site-specific installations in the US, Canada and Europe, his work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, UC Berkeley Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, Photoscene Cologne and the Venice Architectural and Art Biennales. He has received 3 artists visual arts fellowships from the NEA, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a California Arts Council grant for visual artists. He is represented by the Lance Fung Gallery in NY and Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco. He is currently a Professor of Sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute.

    "My work is a examination of psychological and conceptual relationships between humanity and nature, materiality and process, often evoking a poetic interplay between primal and scientific conditions.  This exploration was inspired in the work of 1970’s through the early 1990’s by qualities of the sublime evoked by the geology and natural dynamics of the North American landscape.  Since the mid-1990’s other, related issues, particularly structural and systemic relationships between landscape, architecture and technology, have increasingly characterized the work."

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    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

  • Overthrown: Julian Stair, Volumes Within Voids, 2010–11. Porcelain, Etruria Marl, Keuper Marl, stoneware, basalt, and vitreous slip and glaze. Photo by Jeff Wells.

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