Figurative Ceramic Sculpture Workshop & Demo
Art Department Ceramics Studio - Todd Hall Room 113
Wednesday, April 3rd from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Visiting Artist Lecture
Student Union Video Theater
All events are free and open to the public
|"Blue Fertility Figure", Ceramic, 2011, 20" X 12" X 10"
||"Party Bust", 2010, Ceramic, 24" X 18" X 12"
"The figure has been a potent symbol and charged subject since antiquity, and continues
to be an appropriate vehicle to ask some of life's most challenging questions. I believe
creating images of or depictions about ourselves can be attributed to a primal need
to ensure we survive or to simply tell important stories about what it means to be
human. As a result, I am confident that this subject will continue to hold our interest
for a very long time.
My work takes cues from a "shotgun blast" of influences ranging from antiquity to
popular culture and is constructed to refer to both the body and also charged, stylized,
surrogates for the body such as dolls, toys, and figurines. The questions that arise
from this cultural mishmash fuel my creative practice. I am interested in both the
fragmentation and simplification of human form, especially how this decision encourages,
if not requires, the viewer to participate with the work. Within this context, I view
that which is absent as significant as that which is present. Furthermore, I use the
human condition as a point of departure where themes related to gender, rites of passage,
fertility and mortality are constant "threads" within my creative practice.
I see our skin as having the same story-telling potential as the ceramic surfaces
I develop. Ultimately, I view these "marks" as having the capacity to be both formally
beautiful and to suggest changes that have taken place over time. Surface patterns
are also used to blur the line between where clothing ends and skin begins, where
the concepts of mask, identity, disguise, and transformation are fundamental to my
concerns. Throughout our life our appearance slowly and inevitably changes; in the
process our skin records this story."
Tom Bartel Biography
Tom Bartel grew up on the Erie shores of Cleveland, Ohio and is known for his disturbing
and humorous fragmented figures that take cues from a "shotgun blast" of influences
ranging from antiquity to popular culture. He received his BFA from Kent State University
and his MFA from Indiana University-Bloomington.
Tom has lectured, conducted workshops and exhibited extensively throughout the United
States and internationally. His work is included in numerous public and private collections
and he has received Individual Artist Fellowships from the Pennsylvania arts council,
the Kentucky Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council.
He has numerous publications to his credit, including American Craft, Ceramics Monthly,
Clay Times, Ceramics Art and Perception as well as many other periodicals and books.
Bartel currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Art at Ohio University
in Athens, Ohio.