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John Shea

American artist John Shea uses ceramic to explore ideas of the object; he writes, “The work is an examination of what makes up an object. Looking at both an object as composed of individual elements and also as a set of relationships that inform those objects. The forms themselves are a mish-mash of organic and geometric shapes that push and pull against each other, a collection of individual parts pressed together. The overall group of pieces has been made under a set of systems that determine how individual pieces relate to each other in the series of work through form and function.”

Shea creates sculptures by joining small shapes of clay together; the original forms remain visible through the pieces’ lines and contours, the raw surface texture accentuates the artist’s actions. Shea fires the works before spraying them with enamel oil paints, enhancing the luminescent qualities of the colors while heightening his fingermarks and the planes within the clay. Shea colors each work to seem as though it has a colored light shining on it; the radiant aura is intended to push the viewer’s sense of perception of the object and expected experiences.

Shea graduated with a BFA from the School of American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY before attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he earned an MA and an MFA. He has been a resident artist at the University of Montevallo in Alabama, and his work has been shown throughout the United States and internationally. 



2015-2018        MFA, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI
2015-2017        MA, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI
2012-2013        Post-Baccalaureate Program, Oregon College of Art and Craft,
                              Portland, OR
2007-2011        BA, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

2019                 Visiting Lecturer, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
2018-2019        Adjunct Instructor, Rochester Institute of Technology,
                              Rochester, NY
2016-2018        Instructor of Record, University of Wisconsin - Madison,
                              Madison, WI
2015-2016        Studio Technician, University of Wisconsin - Madison,
                              Madison, WI

2019    Hostler Burrows, New York, NY (forthcoming)
            ReVerb, City Art Space, Rochester Institute of Technology,
                 Rochester, NY (forthcoming)
            Perfect Darkness, Milan Design Week, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy
            MiArt Milano, Art and Design Fair, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy
            Collect 2019, UK Crafts Council Art and Design Fair, Officine Saffi,
                 Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
            Open to Art, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy (Award Finalist)
            Articulating Craft, Arts Center Gallery, Arts Center, Nazareth College,
                 Rochester, NY

2018    A Material Thing, Firehouse Gallery, Flower City Art Center,
                 Rochester, NY (Solo Exhibition)
            Visions in Clay, LH Horton Jr Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College,
                 Stockton, CA
            Southern Miss Ceramics National, University of Southern Mississippi,
                 Hattiesburg, MS
            The Clay Studio National, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Objective, Master of Fine Art Exhibition, Art Lofts Gallery, Madison, WI
2017    10 Years in the Making, Concurrent NCECA Exhibition, Portland, OR
            Talente 2017, Internationale Handwerkmesse Munich, Munich, Germany
            Object Logic, Master of Art Exhibition, Gallery 7, Madison, WI
2016    Bizarre Stuff, Commonwealth Gallery, Madison, WI
2015    Practice and Memory, Ash Street Project, Portland, OR
2012    With Fire, Group of Anagama Fired Sculptures, Carmichael Library,
                 Montevallo, AL
2011    A Marker’s Path, Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition, The Lower Mill,
                 Honeoye Falls, NY
2018-2019        Studio Resident, Rochester Institute of Technology,
                              Rochester, NY
2014-2015        Community Artist, Ash Street Project, Portland, OR
2011-2012        Artist In Residence, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL

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