Mark Pharis . Biography
catalog artist statement resume biography
My introduction to ceramics began in the fall of 1967 at the University of Minnesota. I as I began my education at the University, I found my way into several art classes and eventually the clay studio. I had been encouraged by my best friend’s parents to study with Warren MacKenzie, which I eventually did. It was a transformational experience. I continued to study with a cohort of talented and committed students at the University until 1971. In the summer of 1973 I set up a pottery studio in a rural area outside of Houston, Minnesota and producedwork in that studio until 1989. In 1985 I joined the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota as a faculty member. From 1998 to 2004 I served as the Chair of the department.
Nearly all of my early work was functional, thrown, and once fired in a wood and oil fired kiln. Since 1992, I have worked exclusively in earthenware. My forms and volumes are arrived at through the use of two-dimensional paper patterns and made from clay slabs. My work process owes much to the traditions of patternmaking, which are found in sewing and sheet metal work. I think about and use geometry while making these pieces, however, it is casual geometry and not of the kind based in math. In addition to the many admirable in influential historical pots that have serve as an inspiration and foundation for all potters, I admire architecture – the grace and use of materials that populate rural agricultural landscape. They are often quite simply containers, but of another kind.