Visiting Artist: Matt Kelleher

Sarah Manriquez / Photo Editor

Ceramic artist and professor, Matt Kelleher, will be visiting the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Monday, Feb. 15 through Tuesday, Feb. 16. Kelleher will be conducting workshops and demonstrations in the UAF ceramics studio in room 415 of the Fine Arts Building.

Kelleher has had his hands in clay since he was in high school. He is currently serving as a faculty member at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in the school of art and design, teaching with an emphasis on functional pottery. He has more than 15 years experience as a studio artist. Kelleher has a MFA degree in ceramics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a MA degree in printmaking from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute.

Kelleher’s work has been exhibited in more than two hundred exhibitions. Many prestigious awards and residencies have recognized his work both nationally and internationally. First, this includes the Archie Bray Foundation, which he received right out of graduate school. In addition to this is the Penland School of Crafts, which he considers the residency that changed his career from teaching to being a full time potter. Then internationally speaking, a residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan. He has taught at many universities, including Appalachian State University, Hartford Art School and the Ohio State University.

Kelleher’s aesthetic for his work revolves around what he describes as “quiet surfaces and articulated forms.” Much of his research is centered around soda-fired tableware. Soda firing is an atmospheric firing technique where sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) or sodium carbonate (soda ash) is introduced into the kiln during a glaze firing. The soda vaporizes and those vapors create a glaze when it lands on the piece.

His interests also include sculptural vessels, bird inspired forms and collaborative work with various artists including his wife, Shoko Teruyama.

“My work acts as a metaphor for fog rolling over the Blue Ridge Mountains, or the watery ink of a Zen Painting, or maybe the shape of an eastern box turtle,” Kelleher said.

Kelleher grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa and like many; Kelleher’s first experience with a potter’s wheel was in a high school art class. Kelleher was taught under an active group of mentors who provided a strong support system.

“I worked with inspiring people who showed an interest in me. Its no surprise that this attention encouraged me to work hard in the arts,” Kelleher said.

Clay has consumed much of Kelleher’s adult life, but when he doesn’t have clay in his hands he enjoys watching or listening to baseball and tennis.

Kelleher was last in Fairbanks in summer 2004. He is looking forward to experiencing Alaska in the winter and seeing familiar faces of the folks he met in 2004.

Monday, Feb. 15

9 a.m.-12 p.m.             Workshop/Demo                  Ceramics Studio (Fine Art 415)

1-5 p.m.                       Workshop/Demo                  Ceramics Studio (Fine Art 415)

Tuesday, Feb. 16

8 a.m.-12 p.m.           Workshop/Demo                  Ceramics Studio (Fine Art 415)

1-5 p.m.                     Demo                                    Ceramics Studio (Fine Art 415)

6–7 p.m.                     Reception (Potluck)                Ceramics Studio (Fine Art 415)

7–8 p.m.                     Artist Talk                              McGowan Room (Music 217)

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