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Artist: Simon Levin



Simon Levin, ILLINOIS
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BIO:

Simon Levin has been working in clay since 1990 when an elective ceramics course changed the arc of his life. Simon is a full-time studio potter working almost exclusively with wood firing. An MFA recipient from the University of Iowa, Simon exhibits, teaches, builds kilns, and is published internationally.  In 2013 he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan.  Between 2004 and 2022 his apprenticeship program has trained 23 potters.  He hosts a video series on the Ceramics Arts Network, where he brings dialogue to process. Formerly Director at Large for the National Coucil for Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), and the founder of Cohorts.Art (a small batch mentorship program) Simon seeks every day to advance the frontiers of clay, and evangelize for this empowering material.

 

In 2021 Simon began collaborating with Virgil Ortiz.  Their collaboration has been a fruitful exploration of culture and narrative as well as process sharing.  Currently Simon has been designing custom shields (Ha’pon) for characters in Virgil’s future narrative.  This process of world building and story telling has had profound influence on Simon’s work.

 

Artist Statement

Clay is pervasive. It crosses almost all cultures and time. Clay is accessible, it is underfoot, it is in our homes, our industry, our daily lives. We discover pliable clay as children playing in the dirt, and we bring it to our lips as we drink from a cup in the morning. Clay is in our theologies and how we think about ourselves. Clay unites us in these ways and allows me as an artist to discuss universality.

Fire, earth, wind and water are the tools of every potter, and are the common experience of humanity. Firing with wood allows me to evoke colors from the raw earth, capture the path of flame as it travels on the wind of the kiln. In this way my work makes reference to elemental things we all know and see.

Making functional pottery offers me access to the home. I make recognizable ware for daily use, as well as objects that are for special occasions. I use crude marks in my work looking to avoid cultural specific symbols but rather invite personal connection. Circles and lines, the simple geography of a wheel or a square are clear evidence of my hand in the material.  I seek to make work that is familiar and elicits a comfortably rich experience.



EDUCATION
1998
Master of Fine Art in Ceramics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
1997
Master of Art in Ceramics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
1990
Bachelors of Art, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA.

SELECTED AWARDS
2012-2013
Fulbright Research Scholar, Tainan National University, Taiwan
2012
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Best Hand Built, Juror Jack Troy
2010
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Best Hand Built, Juror Bill Van Gilber
2009
Strictly Functional Pottery National, 1st Place, Juror Pete Pinnell
2007
Art in the Park, Appleton, WI, Honorable Mention
2004
State of Clay, 4th Place, Lexington Art and Craft Guild, Lexington, MA
2001
Strictly Functional Pottery National, ITC Kiln Coat Award, Juror Linda Christianson
2002
Art in the Park, Appleton, WI, Best in 3-D
2000
Art in the Park, Appleton, WI, Best in Show
1999
State of Clay, Best of Utilitarian, Lexington Art and Craft Guild, Lexington, MA
Commissioned work for Grinnell College's Bucksbaum Art Center

REPRESENTATION
AKAR, Iowa City, IA
Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC
The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
The Grand Hand, St. Paul, MN
Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, CO
Lill Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
Red Lodge Studio, Red Lodge, MT
Red Star Studios, Kansas City, KS
Schaller Gallery, St. Joseph, MI
The Signature Shop & Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, WI

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITS
2013
Heavy, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA
Amalgam, Fugui Gallery, Yingge, Taiwan, R.O.C.
2012
Featured Artist, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, MT
2010
Animal Primal, Vessel, The University of South Dakota Gallery, Vemillion, SD
Featured Artist, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Featured Artist, Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, WI
2008
Featured Artist, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
2004
Firing All Cylinders, The Signature Shop and Gallery, Atlanta, GA

EXHIBITS CURATED
2006
Home: Woodfire Interpretations, The Signature Shop and Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1999
Functional Fire: Woodfired Cup Exhibition, Iowa Artisans Gallery, Iowa City, IA
1997-1998
Container: Selections from the Mannheimer Collection, Museum of Art, University of Iowa

EXHIBIT JURIED
2014
National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts 50th Benefit Plate exhibition
2010
It's Only Clay, Bemidji Community Art Center, Bemidji, MN
2008
Clay Cubed, The Clay Space, Warrenville, IL
2006
Home: Woodfire Interpretations, The Signature Shop and Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1999
Functional Fire: Woodfired Cup Exhibition, Iowa Artisans Gallery, Iowa City, IA
1997-1998
Container: Selections from the Mannheimer Collection, Museum of Art, University of Iowa

WORKSHOPS
2014
Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA
2013
Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO
Haystack Mountains School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME
2012
Greenwich House Pottery, New York City, NY
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN
The Art League, Throwing workshop, Alexandria, VA
Kettle MOraine Art Charter High School, Resident Artist, Wales, WI
Edina Art Center, Throwing workshop, Edina, MN
2011
Marketing Group Discussion, Iowa City Conference, Cedar Rapids, IA
Speaking Clay, Taos Clay, Taos, NM
Artisan Center, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, WI
2010
Language of Clay, Bemidji Community Art Center, Bemidji, MN
Throwing with the End in Sight, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN
University of South Dakota Visiting Artist, Vermillion, SD
University of North Texas Visiting Artist, Denton, TX
2009
International Woodfire Symposium, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan
Waubonsee Community College, Firing & Throwing workshop, Sugar Grove, IL
2007
Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA
Burnheim Forest and Art Center, Clermont, KY
2006
Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL
University of Northern Iowa, Throwing workshop, Cedar Falls, IA
2005
University of Missouri, Throwing demos and lecture, Columbia, MO
Cambridge Potter's Guild, Throwing demos with Karl Borgeson, Cambridge, WI
Southern Illinois University, Anagama loading and firing, Edwardsville, IL
2004
Syracuse University, Anagama loading and firing, Syracuse, NY
Pots for Potters, Peninsula Art school, Fish Creek, WI
2003
Southern Illinois University, Kiln building, Edwardsville, IL
Syracuse University, Kiln building, Syracuse, NY
2002
Good Dirt, Throwing demos and lectures, Athens, GA
Northern Clay Center Firing workshop, Minneapolis, MN
2000-2002
Fired Earth Pottery, Throwing demos and lecture, Appleton, WI
2001
Burn and Learn, Archie Bray Foundation, with Matt Kelleher, Helena, MT
2000
Walton Wood Kiln Firing workshop, Walton, NY
University of Wisconsin Fox Valley, Throwing workshop, Appleton, WI
1999
Kirkwood Community College Throwing workshop, Cedar Rapids, IA
Dallas Craft Guild, Kiln building workshop, Dallas, TX
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
1998
MacNider Museum, Mason City, IA
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, WI

LECTURES
2014
Materials Panel, National Council for the Education of Ceramics Arts, Milwaukee, WI
2013
American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN
2011
Marketing Panel, American Pottery Festival, Minneapolis, MN
2009
Notions on Promotion: Moderator, National Council on Ceramic Arts Education
International Woodfire Symposium, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan
2008
The Clay Space Juror's Lecture, Warrenville, IL
2007
The Tuesday Club, Neenah, WI
1998
Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

RECENT GROUP EXHIBITS
2014
St. Croix River Valley Pottery Tour, national invitational, Shafer, MN
Top Shelf, M.T., Burton Gallery Surf City, NJ
12 Wisconsin Woodfirers, Curated by Reid Schoonover, Frank Sadler Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
Peter's Valley School of Craft Faculty Exhibition
Yunomi Show, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
La Mesa, Santa Fe Clay National Invitational, Milwaukee, WI
Cup II: The College of Lake County, Curated by Ben Bates, Grayslake, IL
Art-Stream; Nomadic Gallery, 2014 North American Studio Potters Tour, Milwaukee, WI
2013
40th Annual Pottery Show, Curated by Karen Karnes, Demarest, NJ
American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN
The Simple Cup, Kobo Gallery, Seattle, WA
Ten Years of Fire, Corning Community College, Corning, NY
Iowa Seeds, AKAR Gallery show with former apprentices, Iowa City, IA
Cup the Intimate Object IX, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL
Invitational Woodfire show, The Clay Studio of Missoula, Missoula, MT
Yunomi Show, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Art-Stream; Nomadic Gallery, 2013 NOrth American Studio Potters Tour, Houston, TX
Out Pour, Robert T. Wright Gallery, College of Lake County Grayslake, IL
2012
Made in Clay, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
Annual Pottery Sale, The Art School at Old Church, Demarest, NJ
30 X 5, The Dessert, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Source Material, Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC
White, Green, Black. Durango Arts Center, Durango, CO
Cup VIII: The Intimate Object. Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL
Handle with Care, Mug Show, Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA
Pots at Rest, The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, PA
Pots at Rest, The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, PA
American Apprentice, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, MT
25 for the 25th, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Newcastle, ME
External Views, Surface Show, Red Star Gallery, Kansas City, MO
Functional Wood Fire, Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC
St. Croix River Valley Pottery Tour, National invitational, Shafer, MN
Art-Stream; Nomadic Gallery, North American Studio Potters Tour, Seattle, WA
La Mesa, Santa Fe Clay National Invitational, Seattle, WA
Yunomi Show, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
42nd Annual Ceramics Exhibit, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI
The Cup: 50 Artists, 250 Interpretations. Collect of Lake County, Grayslake, IL
100 Woodfire Cups, POTS Gallery, Seattle, WA
Art Stream, Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Ellensburg, WA
Daily Companions, Cup Show, Baltimore Clay Works, Blatimore, MD
Mint Julep Exhibition, Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, Mt. St. Francis, IN

COLLABORATIONS WITH AMY SMITH
2014
Yunomi Show, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Small Favors IX, The Clay STudio, Philadelphia, PA
Emulsion, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Eisentrager-Howard Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
2013
Game, Set, Match, Curated by Ayumi Horie, Baltimore Clay works, Baltimore, MD
Yunomi Show, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
La Mesa, Santa Fe Clay National Invitational, Houston, TX
2012
Strictly FUnctional Pottery National 2012, Juror Jack Troy, Lancaster, PA
It's Only Clay, Juror Robert Briscoe, Bemidji, MN
Cup VIII: The Intimate Object, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL
Source Material, Curated by Lindsay Rogers, Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC

ARTICLES
2014
"Materialist Me" National Council on the Education for Ceramics Arts, Journal
2013
"Paired Views" Ceramics Monthly, pp. 47-51, May
2011
"Come Fail Away" Studio Potter, Vol. 39 No. 2, Summer/Fall
2009
"Simon Levin Working Potter" Ceramics Monthly, June/July/August
2008
"Hard Work If You Can Get It" The Log Book: The International Publication for Woodfirers, pp. 3-10, Issue 35, September
2007
"Becoming Inarticulate" Studio Potter, Vol. 35, No. 2 Summer/Fall
Interview, Podcast on Anagama-West.com website, with Odin Maxwell, Spring
2006
"Critical Care" Ceramics Monthly, pp. 34-38, August/September
2004
"Staying Power" The Log Book: The International Publication for Woodfirers, pp. 14-18, Issue 19
1999
"The Functional Saggar" Clay Times, Vol. 5, No. 2 March/April

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
2004-Present
Mill Creek Pottery Apprenticeship Program, Gresham, WI
- Founded a program where young artists committed to the field learn the business of a studio artist and develop their own voice.
2006
College of Menominee Nation, Fundamentals of Design, Keshena, WI
2004-2005
University of Wisconsin, Intermediate & Advanced Ceramics, Green Bay, WI
2003
Corning Community College, Kiln Building Summer Course, Corning, NY
1996-1998
Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

WORKS CITED
2013
Woodfired Ceramics: 100 Contemporary Artists. Schiffer Publishing Company
2010
500 Vases, Curated by Julia Galloway, Lark Publications
2007
500 Tiles, Curated by Angelica Pozo, Lark Publications
Review of Home: Woodfire Interpretations by Dorothy Joiner, Ceramics Monthly, March
2006
500 Pitchers, Curated by Terry Gess, Lark Publications
“Living Dishes” Clay Times pp. 7, 30-31, Vol.12. No.2. March/April
2005
“All Cylinders Firing”, Clay Times, cover article. Pp.14-18, Vol. 11, January/February
2004
“Twenty One Young American Potters”, Studio Potter, Pg, 49. Volume 32, No. 2. June
2001
Contemporary American Ceramics, Kevin Hluch, Krause Publications, 2001.
2000
Civil Ware: A review by Pamela Blume Leonard, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 22, 2000

KILN BUILD
2012
Anagama, 100 cubic feet, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT
2009
Anagama, 150 cubic feet, Tainan National University, Tainan, Taiwan
2007
Downdraft car kiln, gas/salt, 27 cubic feet, Prospect, KY
2006
Anagama, 100 cubic feet, Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL
2003
Anagama, 250 cubic feet, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
Anagama, 100 cubic feet, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Anagama, 100 cubic feet, Corning Community College, Corning, NY
Downdraft wood kiln, 100 cubic feet, dual fire boxes, Manatutu, East Timor
2002
Anagama, 200 cubic feet, Mill Creek Pottery, Gresham, WI
1999
Single chamber wood kiln, Mill Creek Pottery, Gresham, WI
1997
Anagama, consulted and helped build, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Single chamber gas/salt kiln, Dallas Craft Guild, Dallas, TX
Two chamber catenary arch wood kiln, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
1996
Tube kiln, wood-fired, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
1994
Two chambered noborigama wood/salt kiln, 400 cubic feet, Farmington, GA

COLLECTIONS
Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan R.O.C.
University of North Dakota, Fargo, ND
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN
Amaco Ceramics, Indianapolis, IN
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA
Archie Bray Foundation, Helena Montana
Betty Woodman Private Collection, New York, NY
Grinnell College, Bucksbaum Art Center, Grinnell, IA
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

COMMUNITY WORK
1999-Present
Fire Fighter, Wisconsin Certified Firefighter 1


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