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Artist: Sean Kunz


Sean Kunz, NEW YORK

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Bio

Born on the prairies of Canada, but raised on the lush and rainy West Coast of  British Columbia, Sean always had a particular awareness of symmetry, profile, line  quality, and pattern in nature. 

In 2000 he enrolled at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and started taking an  interest in functional ceramics, specifically high temperature atmospheric firing.  Sean was a resident at the Harbourfront Centre Craft Studio in Toronto, Canada for  2 years. Returning to Calgary in 2007, he worked as a studio technician at NMPAC  for 10 years, building and firing the studio kilns,  

In the Fall of 2021 Sean started his MFA program at the New York College of  Ceramics, in Alfred, NY. where he continues to make pots and explore the  possibilities of ceramics.

 

Artist Statement

As a potter making functional work, I am challenged by both aesthetic,  and ergonomic considerations. A robust pot that works well is more likely  to be used on a daily basis. That means paying particular attention to lids,  spouts and handles, important details that can make handmade pots a  pleasure to use. The accessibility of a functional craft object that can  engage the user on a daily basis is an important aspect of my practice,  and with a relatively small investment the user can own a small piece of  daily, useful art.  

I want my vessels to have volume, a generous space that alludes to their  ability to contain and nourish, and to have gesture and subtle  anthropomorphic qualities that imbue an energy and fullness. I am  interested in surfaces that invite touch and exploration; texture as pattern,  contrasting matte and gloss surfaces, marks left by the firing process. The  most successful surfaces have an organic quality, reminiscent of moss, ice  crystals, or the sea. I prefer traditional atmospheric firing methods, such  as wood and salt firing, methods that physically touch and impact the  work. 

I often work in small editions, making each piece by hand allows me to  constantly refine designs. The forms evolve slowly through reflection,  observing the pots in a group, comparing proportions and surface quality.  The relationship between a grouping of pots, and the ability of gesture to  activate a neighbouring form helps to energize the work. 

I strive to keep traditional domestic design relevant in an increasingly fast paced society. Handmade objects take time. They connect us to each  other and are a physical manifestation of the makers time, skill and energy.  Influenced by historic pots and their ritual use, a more contemplative  object can provide a moment of reflection and connection. A link to the  past, and an intimate moment in the present, shared with family and  friends.

 

Education:

2023 - MFA Candidate , Alfred University Ceramics  Alfred, NY. USA. 

2005 - BFA -Alberta College of Art and Design, Ceramics major. 

 Calgary, Canada. 

  1. - High School Diploma, Mount Douglas Secondary. 

 Victoria, Canada. 

 

Residencies:

2005 - Harbourfront Center, two year craft studio residency in ceramics.  Toronto, Canada.  

  1. - Medalta International Artist Residency. 

 Medicine Hat, Canada. 

  1. -The Banff Center, Independent Residency, wood kiln firings. 

 Banff, Canada. 

 

Select Group Exhibitions:

2021 - MFA Cohorts - Alone Together, Virtual. 

 Curated by the MFA students at University of Montana. 

- Strictly Functional National, Lancaster Museum of Art. 

 Lancaster, Pennsylvania USA. 

- Red Lodge Clay Center Juried National 

 Red Lodge, Montana USA. 

- Ceramic Congress Canadian Exhibition, Virtual. 

 Curated by Carole Epp. 

2019 - Put a Lid on It, London Clay Art Centre, Biennial Exhibition.   London, Canada. 

- Colours of The Lakes, Willock and Sax Gallery. 

 Banff, Canada. 

- Northern Blends, NCECA Christensen Gallery, Augsburg University. 

 Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. 

2018 - Uncommon Blends, C-Space Alberta Craft Council. 

 Calgary, Canada. 

2017 - Last Call 2, Companion Gallery. 

 Humbolt, Tennessee, USA. 

2016 - Cheers, Celebratory Drinking Vessels, Yuill Gallery, Medalta.  Medicine Hat, Canada. 

2013 - Medalta International Cup Show, Yuill Gallery, Medalta. 

 Medicine Hat, Canada 

- Potworks, Alberta Craft Council. 

 Edmonton, Canada. 

- Well Done. Harbourfront Center. 

 Toronto, Canada. 

2012 - BAC 35, Burlington Art Center 35th. Anniversary Mug Exhibition.  Burlington, Canada. 

- The Makings III, Willock and Sax Gallery. 

 Banff, Canada. 

2011 - The Makings II, Willock and Sax Gallery. 

 Banff, Canada.

2010 - Clay 2010, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, ACC Gallery. 

 Edmonton, Canada. 

- The Makings, Willock and Sax Gallery. 

 Banff, Canada. 

2009 - Perfect, Burlington Art Center. 

 Burlington, Canada. 

2007 - Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Nathan Phillips Square. 

 Toronto, Canada. 

- On The Table, The Gardiner Museum 

 Toronto, Canada.  

 Art Gallery of Winnipeg.  

 Winnipeg, Canada. 

 Art Gallery of Nova Scotia 

 Halifax, Canada. 

- Proportion and Bliss, York Quay Centre 

 Toronto, Canada. 

2006 - Downtown Urban Design Event, College St. 

 Toronto, Canada. 

- Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Nathan Phillips Square. 

 Toronto, Canada. 

- Contemporary Canadian Ceramics, Esplanade Gallery. 

 Medicine Hat, Canada.  

- Material World- Harbourfront Residents Show. York Quay Gallery.  

 Toronto, Canada. 

2005 - Graduating Students Show, Alberta College of Art and Design.  Calgary, Canada. 

- Convergence, Senior ACAD Ceramic Student Show, Art Central. 

 Calgary, Canada. 

- Clay Dynamics, Medicine Hat Public Library. 

 Medicine Hat, Canada. 

 

Awards:

2019 - Put a Lid on It, Best Design Award. Shino Box, 2018. 2016 - Cheers, Medalta Purchase Award. Bottles, 2016

2010 - Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Purchase Award. Flasks, Ewer Set. 2006 - Toronto Outdoor Show, Honorable Mention, Ceramics. 

2005 - Harbourfront Residency, 1st. year Craft Studio Scholarship. 

- Shimpo Student Scholarship. 

- Peggy Heer Memorial Summer Institute Ceramics Award. 

- Jason Lang Scholarship. 

 

Collections:

- Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Clay 2010 purchase program.   Ewer Set 2007, Fat Stripe Flask 2009, Flask 2009.

 

Publications:

2007 - Cahiers Metiers d’Arts. Issue #2, 2008. 

 Relational Ceramics. 

 Article by Amy Gogarty. 

- Fusion, Ontario Clay and Glass. Fall 2007. 

 On The Table Panel Discussion

 Article by Shirley Clifford. 

2006 - BC Potters Guild Newsletter, Volume 42 #7. 

 Contemporary Canadian Ceramics, exhibition review. 

 Article by Amy Gogarty. 

2005 - Galleries West, Exhibition Reviews 

 Contemporary Canadian Ceramics 

 Article by Amy Gogarty 

 

Related Experience:

2020 - Instructor, Red Deer College Summer Series Clay Program. 2012 - Ceramic technician, NMPAC, City of Calgary. 2012-2021. 

2007 - Invited panel member, group discussion ‘Does Art Still Have a Job?’  Gardiner Museum. Toronto, Canada. Moderated by Harlan House.


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