John Roloff is a visual artist who works conceptually with site, process and natural systems. He is known for his ceramic works and outdoor kiln/furnace projects done from the 1970’s into the 1990’s, as well as other large-scale environmental projects, gallery installations and objects investigating geologic and natural phenomena. Based on an extensive background and ongoing research in the earth sciences, he works from geochemical and global metabolic perspectives. His work engages poetic and site-specific relationships between material, concept and performance in the domains of geology, ecology, architecture, ceramics, industry, metabolic systems and history. The ship is a central image of his work, metaphorically evoking psychological and transformative processes of the sea and land in geologic and contemporary time. He studied geology at UC Davis, Davis, CA with Professor Eldridge Moores and others during the formative days of plate tectonics in the late-1960’s. Contemporaneous with geology he studied art with Bob Arneson and William T. Wiley also at UC Davis. Working with Louis Marak, he received a master’s degree in art in 1973 from CSU Humboldt.
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, The Snow Show in Kemi, Finland and Artlantic: wonder, Atlantic City, NJ. Art works in the public realm that explore geologic and related concepts can be found at sites such as: Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, I-5 Colonnade Park, Seattle, WA and Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. He has received 3 artist’s visual arts fellowships from the NEA, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, a California Arts Council grant for visual artists and a Bernard Osher Fellowship at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA. He is represented by Anglim/Trimble Gallery in San Francisco and is Professor Emeritus of Sculpture/Ceramics at the San Francisco Art Institute.