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Artist: Samuel Johnson


Artist: Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson, MINNESOTA
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Recently, I’ve been producing two separate but related types of pottery. The wood fired work is often dark and rustic in appearance, evidence of both the process of shaping wet clay and its transformation through fire. These pieces are unglazed when placed within the kiln, but over the course of the firing they are marked by wood and heat, melting ash, and charcoal. The second type I’m making is white glazed pottery. These pieces explore color by minimizing it and may suggest purity and clarity while maintaining surface textures that seem idiosyncratic and imperfect. They are mysterious and enigmatic in ways that are familiar: opposing elements that strive for a rational ideal while remaining essentially flawed and vulnerable.

In both types of pottery I attempt to strike a balance between the wild and mysterious character of our environment and that part of our psyche that sets us apart from it. Both contain contradictory elements that provoke a sense of mystery and gravitas (soberness, weight, and grief) and may suggest something of our nature that is just on the other side of consciousness.

BIOGRAPHY
Samuel Johnson was born on the Eastern prairie of the Red River Valley in 1973. After studying painting and ceramics at the University of Minnesota at Morris, he served a three and half year apprenticeship in pottery under Richard Bresnahan. In 2000, he was invited as a guest of Denmark’s Design School to study Scandinavian Ceramic design in Copenhagen; while also working at the International Ceramic Center in Skaelskor and as an assistant in private porcelain studios. After working for a short period in a studio in New York, he traveled to Japan as a studio guest of Koie Ryoji. In 2005, Johnson earned graduate degrees in fine art from the University of Iowa. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in South Central Minnesota.

EDUCATION
2005
M.F.A. Ceramics/Drawing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
M.A. 2004 Ceramics/Drawing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
2001
Apprentice to Jeff Shapiro (Ceramic Artist), Accord, New York
2000
Guest Student, Danmarks Design Skole, Kobenhavn, DK
1996-1999
Apprentice to Richard Bresnahan (Ceramic Artist), Collegeville,
1996
B.A. Liberal Arts/Painting, University of Minnesota (Distinction), Morris, MN
Areas of Specialization:Ceramics

ADJUNCT EDUCATION
2011
Studio of Koie Ryoji. Studio guest of internationally renowned ceramic artist, Tokoname, Japan
Studio of Jeff Shapiro. Apprenticed to Ceramic Artist, Accord, NY.
2000
Denmark’s Design School. Guest Student Ceramics, Industrial Design Program. Denmark’s Design School, Copenhagen, DK.
1996-1999
Saint John’s Pottery Studio. Apprenticed to Richard Bresnahan, Collegeville, MN.

TEACHING APPOINTMENTS/PROFESSIONAL ACTIVES
2011-Present
Associate Professor of Art, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University, St. Joseph, MN
2005-2011
Assistant Professor of Art, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University, St. Joseph, MN

GRANTS/FELLOWSHIPS/AWARDS
2010
Linda Mealey Collaborative Research Award (Nominated)
2009
Advisor of the year award, CSBSJU Fine Arts Division (Nominated)
2008
CSBSJU Faculty Development Tour - New Zealand
Advisor of the year award, CSBSJU Fine Arts Division
Faculty Development Grant, College of Saint Benedict and St. Johns University
Award Finalist, Individual Artist Award, CMBA/McKnight Foundation
2007
Faculty Development Grant, College of Saint Benedict and St. Johns University
2006
Fine Arts Scholarship and Excellence in Pedagogy Faculty Reassigned Award, College of Saint Benedict
2004
Fine Arts Council Student Art Grant, University of Iowa
Scholarly Presentation Award, University of Iowa
Travel Grant Award, University of Iowa
Honorable Mention, Twenty-Eight Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, (Awarded by Juror: Lin Nelson-Mayson)
Teaching Assistanceship, University of Iowa
2003
ACME Brick Company Award, Ceramics USA 2003, (Awarded by Juror Doug Casebeer)
Teaching Assistanceship, University of Iowa
2002
Teaching Assistanceship, University of Iowa
1996
Natalie Benoit Memorial Scholarship (for demonstrating ability in the arts), University of Minnesota, Morris, MN

SOLO EXHIBITION RECORD
2008
Pilgrimage, MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Inheritances, Gorecki Gallery, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
2005
Samuel Johnson: Wood Fired Pottery, Rourke Art Gallery, Moorhead, MN
Samuel Johnson: Tableware, Fort Madison Area Arts Center, Fort Madison, Iowa
Samuel Johnson: Shadow Work, University of Iowa Hospitals – Project Art, Iowa City, Iowa

EXHIBITION RECORD
2012
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA
2011
2011 Yunomi Invitational, Akar Gallery, Iowa City, IA
CSBSJU Faculty Exhibition, SJU’s Alice R. Rogers and Target Galleries, Collegeville, MN
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, HFA Gallery, University of Minnesota, Morris
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, Rourke Art Museum, Moorhead
2010
Central Minnesota’s Arts Board (CMAB)’s Individual Artist Exhibition, Foley, MN
Autumn Art Auction (Invitational Exhibition), North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
Minnesota Ceramics—An Evolving Legacy, (Invitational) Anoka Ramsey
Community College, Coon Rapids, MN
Expressive & Aesthetic Ends II, Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, SJU’s Alice R. Rogers and Target Galleries, Collegeville, MN
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, Grand Hand Gallery, St. Paul, MJN
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL
2009
Origins, Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
College Bowl, Northern Clay Center, MN
CSBSJU Faculty Exhibition, St. Johns University Gallery, Collegeville, MN
2008 Transformations: From Ceramics to Paper (Invitational Exhibition) Northern Clay Center,
Minneapolis, MN
Bunny McBride Retrospective (Invitational), Akar Gallery, Iowa City, IA
2008
UMM Studio Art Alumni Exhibition, University of Minnesota Fine Arts Gallery, Morris, MN
Canvas and Clay, Art Works Gallery, Bozeman, MT
Teapots Across America; A Juried Exhibition (juror: Mark Leach, Executive Director of the
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art), Red Sky Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Where Fine Art Meets the Front Porch, Loft Gallery, St. Cloud, MN
2008 Central Minnesota Arts Board’s – Individual Artist Award Winners & Finalists, Falcon
National Bank, St. Cloud, MN
2007
Landscape/Earthscape, (Two person), The Grand Hand Gallery, St. Paul, MN
Open and Closed, (National Invitational Exhibition), sponsored by The American Association of
Wood Turners & Northern Clay Center, St. Paul, M
2006
20 + 1 Years of the Tozan Kilns, an International Wood Fire Conference; (Invitational
Exhibition), Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff, AZ
Empty Spaces (Juror: Peg Malloy), Carbondale Clay Center, Carbondale, Colorado
Art in Bloom, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Gallery representation: The Grand Hand Gallery, St. Paul, MN
Work collected by Microsoft Corporation
2005
Graduate Clay, Marvin Cone Gallery, Coe College, Cedar Rapids
2004
Artist in You (Juried Regional Exhibition), Quad City Art Center, Rock Island, Illinois
Iowa Wood Fire Artists in Conjunction with The Naked Truth; International Wood Fire
Conference, Campbell Steele Gallery, Marion Iowa
Gems from the Fire; 2004 Juried Wood Fire Exhibition (Jurors: Chuck A Hindes & Gerry Eskin),
Iowa Hall Gallery, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Samuel Johnson and Eric Gorder; Wood Fired Jars & Vessels, Jefferson Building Gallery, Iowa
City, Iowa
Twenty-Eighth Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition (Juror: Lin Nelson-Mayson; Exhibition
Catalog), Augustana Art Museum, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois
International Orton Cone Box Show, (Juror: Janet Mansfield & Phil Rogers), Traveling
Exhibition, Holt/Russell Gallery, Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas; NCECA, Indianapolis,
Indiana
2003
University of Iowa Ceramics; Student Exhibit & Sale, Akar Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Autumn Art Auction (Exhibition)Catalog), North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
Ceramics USA 2003 (Juror, Doug Casebeer), University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, TX
2002/03
Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the St. Johns Pottery, (Traveling Invitational
Exhibition & Exhibition Catalog), Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI; Tweed Museum of Art,
Duluth, MN; University of Minnesota, Morris, MN; Visual Art Center at the Washington Pavilion
of Arts and Sciences, Sioux Falls, SD; Saint John’s University of Art Center, Alice R. Rogers and
Target Galleries, Collegeville, MN
2001
Osaka Ceramic Festival, Yamaki Art Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Form IV, SAK Museum, Svendborg, Denmark
2000
Open Fire Symposium 2000; Forsberg, Norgaard, Poulsen, Damsager-Hansen, & Johnson;
Recent Works, International Ceramic Center Guldagergard, Skaelskor, Denmark
Alumni Exhibition, University of Minnesota Fine Arts Gallery, Morris, MN
1997
Apprenticeship: An Alternative Education in Pottery (Invitational), Memorial Union Gallery,
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

GALLERY AFFILIATION
Grand Hand Gallery, St Paul, MN
MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay (Exhibition Catalogue), Matthew Welch, PhD., St. Johns University
Press, 2010
Autumn Art Auction (Catalog), North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND, 2010
Earth, Wind, and Fire; Richard Bresnahan’s elemental approach to art – and life, Scott Carlson, The
Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2009 (interviewed, quoted)
From the Earth: Samuel Johnson showing his potter at the Rourke, Daily News, Sunday, June 26,
2005
Raised in the Red River Valley, The Forum, June 26, 2005
Iowa City Artist’s Work Featured this Month at FMAA Gallery. Daily Democrat, February 7th, 2005
Potter and Painters Display Artistic Wares at Exhibitions. Bobby Wilson, The Hawk Eye, February, 2 ne, 2005
Twenty-Eighth Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition (Exhibition Catalog), April 3, 2004
Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition Winners. Jodie Shagrin Kavensky; River Cities’ Reader, Volume 11, No.
470, March 31 – April 9th, 2004
Painting with Fire; UMM Now Practices the Ancient Craft of Wood-Fired Pottery. Pauline Oo; M
Magazine, Page 8, Spring 2004
New Kiln Constructed at UMM. Jackie Thrasher; Hancock Record, November 6, 2003
Alumni Assist with Construction and Inaugural Firing of Kiln. Profile; Page 16, Volume VIII, Edition I, Winter 2004
North Dakota Museum of Art; Autumn Art Auction (Auction Catalog), October 2003
Body of Clay, Soul of Fire; Richard Bresnahan and Art from the Saint John’s pottery, (Exhibition Catalog), January 2002
Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John’s Pottery. Michael Premo; Muse; Central Minnesota’s Arts
Community Magazine, Page 4, Dec 2001 – January 2002
Body of Clay, Soul of Fire, Matthew Welch, Mathew Welch, forward by Gerry Williams: Afton Historical
Society Press, 2001
“Clay, Fire, Spirit; The Pottery of Richard Bresnahan”, John Whitehead, (Documentary Film for PBS), 1998
Discipline Teaches SJU Apprentices Art, St. Cloud Times. October 1997
Raised in the Red River Valley, The Forum, June 26, 2005
Iowa City Artist’s Work Featured this Month at FMAA Gallery. Daily Democrat, February 7th, 2005
Potter and Painters Display Artistic Wares at Exhibitions. Bobby Wilson, The Hawk Eye, February, 2 2005
Twenty-Eighth Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition (Exhibition Catalog), April 3, 2004
Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition Winners. Jodie Shagrin Kavensky; River Cities’ Reader, Volume 11, No. 470, March 31 – April 9th, 2004
Painting with Fire; UMM Now Practices the Ancient Craft of Wood-Fired Pottery. Pauline Oo; M Magazine, Page 8, Spring 2004
New Kiln Constructed at UMM. Jackie Thrasher; Hancock Record, November 6, 2003
Alumni Assist with Construction and Inaugural Firing of Kiln. Profile; Page 16, Volume VIII, Edition I, Winter 2004
North Dakota Museum of Art; Autumn Art Auction (Auction Catalog), October 2003
Body of Clay, Soul of Fire; Richard Bresnahan and Art from the Saint Johns pottery, (Exhibition Catalog), January 2002
Richard Bresnahan and the Saint Johns Pottery. Michael Premo; Muse; Central Minnesota’s Arts Community Magazine, Page 4, Dec 2001 – January 2002
Body of Clay, Soul of Fire, Matthew Welch, Mathew Welch, forward by Gerry Williams: Afton Historical Society Press, 2001
John Whitehead, “Clay, Fire, Spirit; The Pottery of Richard Bresnahan”, (Documentary Film for PBS), 1998
Discipline Teaches SJU Apprentices Art, St. Cloud Times. October 1997
Lower Stumpf Lake Review; A Journal of the Arts, Volume 32; page 59. May 1997

PUBLICATIONS
Deus Absconditus; the Hidden God, Samuel Johnson; University of Iowa Press, MFA Thesis
New Ceramic Works; Utility, Naturalism, & Traditional Learning, Samuel Johnson; University of Iowa Press, MA Thesis

CONFERENCES/SYMPOSIA
2010
Minnesota Ceramic Educators (Exhibition), Anoka Ramsey Community College
2006
20 + 1 Years of the Tozan Kilns, an International Wood Fire Conference; (Invitational Exhibition), Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff, AZ
2004
Graduate Student Slide Forum, 38th Annual Conference of the National Council of Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), Indianapolis, Indiana

VISITING ARTIST LECTURES
2010
The Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University, GA
2008
St. John's Preparatory School, Collegeville, MN
MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
University of Minnesota, Morris, MN
Friday Forum - "Maori Decolonization, Education and National Identity in New Zealand", SJU Collegeville, MN
2005
Ft. Madison Area Association Gallery Depot, Ft. Madison, Iowa, Throwing Demonstration
2004
Iowa Central Community College, Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Throwing Demonstration & Slides
Ft. Dodge Area High School, Ft Dodge, Iowa, Throwing Demonstration
Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Slide Talk
2001
Yagi-City Community Arts Center, Yagi-city, Japan, Workshop instructor; pit fire demonstrations for elementary school students
2001-1997
University of Minnesota, Morris; Throwing Demonstrations

COLLECTIONS
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
Minnesota History Society, St. Paul, MN
Microsoft Corporation, Fargo, ND
SAK Museum, Svendborg, Denmark
Bunkyo Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

TRAVEL/RESEARCH
2008
New Zealand, Faculty Development Trip, Maori Cultural and Ceramic Studios (Nathan Manos, Peter Lange)
2006
Italian and Croatian Ceramic and Art Centers (International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza; Venice, Rome, Florence)
2001
Japanese Ceramic Centers, Tokoname (Yuichi Hirano, Koie Ryoji), Seto (Goro Suzuki), Shigaraki (Otoni Shiro, Kanzaki Shiho), Bizen (Isezaki Jun, Ryuichi Kakurezaki), Hagi, Tanegashima (Isao Seguchi, Nakamoto Tamaki), Karatsu Tumshede, Sweden, Johan Strom’s Anagama, Firing & Reduction Cooling
2000
La Borne, France, Two week visit of active and former wood kiln sites, met potters, visited clay mine and processing facility Skaelskor, Denmark, Fired Fred Olsen’s prototype cross-directional wood kiln with Fred Olsen, International Ceramic Center, Denmark

GALLERY AFFILIATION
Grand hand Gallery, St Paul, MN
Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

EXHIBITIONS CURATED
2008 Transformations: From Ceramics to Paper, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN
- Proposed and curated this exhibion which included two internationally renowned ceramic arts, Rob Barnard and Richard Bresnahan, and printmaker David Cost

 


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