Tag Archives: Abstract ceramic United States

Abstract ceramics in the USA


Exploring the abstract.


Having abandoned the certainty of a known form and its expected details, the biggest challenge when engaging in abstract designs is being able to assemble a cohesive whole from the choices of shapes, colours and spaces. The liberation from not having to exactly interpret a defined reality unleashes a spontaneity and improvisation that can produce engrossing results. Using the manipulation of form and the breaking down of a structured reality into more simplistic details, allows the suspension of  the order of symmetry for more asymmetrical forms. This opens up the creation of movement and unpredictability with the flow of the shapes, lines, textures and colours all capable of input. The resulting tension delivers a heightened dynamic from a form striving for balance. Reflecting the fluid reality of the subconscious with its mystique and temporal, less fixated presence, the abstract can arouse an array of perceptions. Abstract art is interactive in the sense that it invites the viewer to participate with their interpretations of the sculptural works, through not being presented with a definitive, structured piece.

Featured here are six contemporary American ceramic artists who use abstract concepts in their decorative styles.  I feel they present a skilful and intuitive representation of this deep and fascinating medium.


Michael Gustavson



“Clay has been an art form that man has used since the beginning of time.  Every culture that has been discovered through archaeology has a historic record of uses for clay.  From utilitarian to sculpture this ancient historical record has always intrigued me.  Since my discovery of clay I have been learning and exploring the many different qualities of clay.”

  “As you look at my works you will note that I use many different techniques to manipulate clay to express my personal aesthetic views. Clay itself has a lot to do with my aesthetic viewpoint.

 The last 38 years I have used the forms that I create, whether vessel or wall slabs, as a vehicle to express myself as a painter using glaze as my paint.  My most recent works are a series of large hand built tectonic forms.  With these forms I will continue to explore and express the language of clay. “

” As is the case with most artists, the analyzing and verbalizing of their works is really not the statement, the statement truly is the work itself.”

website HERE


Blue Rythym Michael Gustavson abstract vase

Blue Rhythm – Michael Gustavson





Day and Night - Michael Gustavson

Day and Night – Michael Gustavson




Masquerade - Michael Gustavson

Masquerade – Michael Gustavson




Solar Flare - Michael Gustavson

Solar Flare – Michael Gustavson





Caribbean Blue-74H - Michael Gustavson

Caribbean Blue– – Michael Gustavson

74″ Height




Evening Walk - Michael Gustavson

‘Evening Walk’ – Michael Gustavson




Beautiful Thought - Michael Gustavson

‘Beautiful Thought’ – Michael Gustavson





Artifact - Michael Gustavson

‘Artifact’ – Michael Gustavson





Ancient Journey - M-Gustavson

Abstract vase  ‘Ancient Journey’ – Michael Gustavson





Solitary Dancer - Michael Gustavson

‘Solitary Dancer’ – Michael Gustavson





South Window - Michael Gustavson

‘South Window’ – Michael Gustavson

Desert Art Collection



Light Sculpture - Michael Gustavson

‘Light Sculpture’ – Michael Gustavson





Glazing a vessel - Michael Gustavson

Glazing a vessel – Michael Gustavson




Epiphany - Michael Gustavson

‘Epiphany’ – Michael Gustavson

Table-Top Piece-MGustavson

‘Arc’ – Michael Gustavson





Sea Creature - Michael Gustavson

‘Sea Creature ‘- Michael Gustavson





Eloquence - Michael Gustavson

‘Eloquence’ – Michael Gustavson





Earth Watch T en - MiGustavson

‘Earth Watch T en’ – Michael Gustavson

Hawthorne Gallery




Chromatic Afternoon - Michael Gustavson

‘Chromatic Afternoon’ – Michael Gustavson





Asia - Michael Gustavson

‘Asia’ – Michael Gustavson



 Eric Knoche


” My current work ranges from small puzzles to human size outdoor works to manipulatable sculpture to large installations with many pieces.  I make things I am curious to see. The work tends to evolve out of itself and I often feel like I am an archaeologist excavating my own subconscious.  Here are some things that I think influence my work:  male and female figures, bones, machine parts, houses, clouds, landscapes, algebra equations, micro-facial movements, fact and truth, alphabets and foreign languages, spacial relationships, tools I don’t know how to use, the distortional nature of memory, the limits of ocular perception, plants, neutron stars, dancing, running water, and songbirds. ”   

” I think some physical forms and arrangements of space are simply pleasing to humans at a sort of meta-level. ”

website HERE




Raku vessel –  Erich Knoche







Vessel Eric Knoche

Vessel Eric Knoche






Tuning Fork 2012 Eric Knoche

Tuning Fork – Eric Knoche


Eric Knoche-433x339

Eric Knoche

photo by Matt Rose




Vessel - Eric Knoche

Vessel  – Eric Knoche




Switcharoo Eric Knoche

Switcharoo – Eric Knoche





Red Spiral Wood fired stoneware

Red Spiral  – Wood fired stoneware by Eric Knoche


 Sheryl Zacharia

Santa Fe


” As a child I was captivated by old things. I realize now much of that had to do with their handmade quality. My clay work is influenced by the material itself, its history and the intimacy of its interaction with the hand and touch. This is why my surfaces reveal the process; and the process becomes the surface.
The sculptural forms focusing on shape and surface are inspired by my love for ancient relics and modern abstract paintings. The textured and stamped areas help the eyes travel deliberately around the forms. The combination of raw and refined surfaces echoes the inevitable marriage of new and old. “

” Pattern and form are rhythm, palette is harmony, lines and shapes are lyrical. I’m striving to make a visual poetry. ”

website –HERE




Dancers - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Dancers’ – Sheryl Zacharia


( Tansey Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe ) -sold




Sky Dwelling - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Sky Dwelling’ – Sheryl Zacharia





Woman in the window - S Zacharia

‘Woman in the window’ – Sheryl Zacharia

Jane Sauer Gallery – sold



Sheryl Zacharia abstract ceramic art

‘Black Sail Black Moon’ – Sheryl Zacharia

18 x 13 x 4



Summer Fling - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Summer Fling’ – Sheryl Zacharia

18″ x 22″ x 5″

 In a permanent collection at Racine Art Museum, Racine Wisconsin




Autumn Winds - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Autumn Winds’ – Sheryl Zacharia

( Tansey Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe )




Egghead Face - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Egghead Face’ – Sheryl Zacharia




Eye of the Storm - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Eye of the Storm’ – Sheryl Zacharia





Devilish - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Devilish’ – Sheryl Zacharia




Sun-Travels - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Sun Travels’ – Sheryl Zacharia




Squared Off - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Squared Off ‘ – Sheryl Zacharia

Fantasy Foliage - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Fantasy Foliage’ – Sheryl Zacharia





Liquid Woman - Sheryl Zacharia

‘Liquid Woman’ – Sheryl Zacharia

17″ x 8″ x 6″

Sheryl Zacharia NY

Sheryl Zacharia, NY-USA

Sheryl Zacharia

‘Asymmetrical bottles’  -Sheryl Zacharia


 Wayne Higby


The  pieces below were displayed at the Renwick Gallery retrospective  “Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby”  at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Wayne Higby’s vision of the American landscape appears in ceramic forms ranging from vessels and sculptures to architectural installations.




Large bowl - Wayne Higby


  Large hand-thrown raku-fired glazed ceramic footed vessel, “Green Water Afternoon”

Wayne Higby –  12″ x 21″ x 14 1/2″




Higby-Stone Gate ceramic sculpture


‘Stone Gate’  – Wayne Higby

2007 – photo by Brian Oglesbee

( SmithsonisnAmericanArtMuseum )




Higby-Yellow Rock Falls


Wayne Higby  – ‘Yellow Rock Falls’


Photo – JohnCarlano




Wayne Higby - Untitled Bowl

‘Untitled Bowl’  –  Wayne Higby

( franklloyd.com )






Wayne Higby with ‘Pictorial Lake’

1986 – glazed earthenware, raku-fired
collection of Sarah H. Morabito
photo by Brian Oglesbee

( Smithsonisn American Art Museum )






‘Green Terrace Canyon’ – Wayne Higby

From the exhibition  A Vision of the American Landscape in Ceramic Forms and Porcelain Jars.

1975 – glazed earthenware, raku-fired
collection of Marlin and Regina Miller
photo by John Carlano

Wayne Higby Raku Bowl

Wayne Higby Raku Bowl

Wayne Higby Ceramic Box

Wayne Higby Ceramic Boxes with lids

Wayne Higby--Triangle Springs 1972

Wayne Higby–‘Triangle Springs’ 1972



Lauren Mabry



” I make painterly, abstract, ceramic objects. Primarily my work communicates directly through its formal and aesthetic qualities, but it may also be understood in relationship to abstract painting, minimal work, and process art. Sometimes the surfaces look weathered and aged, but at the same time colorfully lush and wet. There is a sense of immediacy to the mark making, and at moments a quality of action. I exploit the intrinsic characteristics of ceramic materials to produce pieces with a magnetic dissonance. Ultimately, my work is a synthesis of intuitive, expressive surfaces and elemental forms. “

” The absence of representation in my work allows the marks, brush strokes and colour to communicate. I’m compelled by the scintillating, seductive energy created through formal dualities. ”

website HERE

Lauren Mabry

Earthenware cylinder with  slips, glaze, china paint – Lauren Mabry

Lauren Mabry

Cylinder with hand painted absrtact decoration – Lauren Mabry


Lauren Mabry

Lauren Mabry 2012 ceramic

Ceramic cylinder -Lauren Mabry




Lauren Mabry abstract ceramic wall art

Contemporary ceramic art wall panel – Lauren Mabry

Lauren Mabry Earthenware

Lauren Mabry

Earthenware, slips, glaze, china paint 2012

11″ height x 12″ diameter

Lauren Mabry studio glazing

Lauren Mabry studio glazing, Philadelphia




Spilling Pipe,-glazed-ceramic,-2014.-17h-x-17w-x-17d Lauren Mabry

‘Spilling Pipe’ – glazed ceramic – Lauren Mabry



 red-earthemware,-slips.g;aze-2014 Lauren Mabry red ceramic cylinder

 Lauren Mabry



Danny Rosales, LA

“When I began working with a new medium – clay. I had no idea that I would like the feel of clay and the challenges it has to offer. Although I have worked in many mediums in the past, it is the only one that seems addictive. In the beginning it felt a bit overwhelming, but soon found that if I apply my same basic building principles I have always used along with some new clay methods the possibilities are endless.”

“Visual perception is the sum of one’s personal experiences projected onto whatever is before us, often familiar, but oftentimes unique. The intent of my work is to use these familiarities to entice the viewer to experience a unique perspective taken from ordinary objects. I like machines as subject matter because they give me the illusion of reshaping time, and at the same time the imagery provokes its own power of thought.”



Closure-Removed--2014 abstract sculpture by Danny Rosales

Danny Rosales   ‘Closure Removed’ –2014




Design Assembly With Tool-ceramic-2015 wall sculpture by Danny Rosales

‘Design Assembly With Tool’ -ceramic wall sculpture by Danny Rosales





Mechanism-five----12x11 raku wall sculpture - Danny Rosales

‘Mechanism five’ raku wall sculpture – Danny Rosales – 2014

12″ x 11″




Temple Remains by Danny Rosales ceramic sculpture in green, brown and black

‘Temple Remains’ – Danny Rosales

height 17″





Danny Rosales ceramic raku scukpture

Danny Rosales raku sculpture




Danny Rosales posing with his sculpture

Danny Rosales

photo Lisa John Lucas




Section-Out-15h---2014 Danny Rosales

‘Section Out’  – raku sculpture by Danny Rosales

 15″ height — 2014




Standstill 25 Danny Rosales raku ceramic sculpture

‘Standstill’ – Danny Rosales – 2014

height 25 inches




Trial and Error 20h Danny Rosales raku ceramic sliver grey

‘Trial and Error’  Danny Rosales

20″ height




Antiquated-frequency----7x12 Danny Rosales abstract ceramic wall art

‘Antiquated frequency’ -Danny Rosales

7″ x 12″