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John Shea - Artists + Designers - Hostler Burrows

Shea at work in his studio. Photo by A. Sue Weisler

John Shea (American, b. 1989) is a ceramic artist currently based in Little Rock, Arkansas. His vibrantly painted sculptures contain an implicit duality that transcends time and space, balancing a contemporary surface aesthetic with a physicality that might have been geologically formed eons ago. Shea’s process joins small shapes of clay together, yet he allows the original forms to remain visible through lines and contour. After firing, he sprays each work with enamel oil paints, enhancing the luminescent qualities of the colors while heightening his fingermarks and the planes within the piece. Shea describes his practice as “an examination of what makes up an object. Looking at both an object as being composed of individual elements and also as a set of relationships that inform those objects. The forms themselves are a mishmash of organic and geometric shapes that push and pull against each other, a collection of individual parts pressed together…”

With shades that include raspberry, yellow-orange, dusty green, and bluish-purple, the artist’s color palette comes from A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Japanese painter Sanzo Wada, a book that first appeared in 1932. Avoiding primary colors, Shea instead mixes to create secondary and tertiary hues, layering one color on top of another with spray gun and drip techniques. This process is similar to glazing in painting, where layers of translucent oils shine through each other from murky depths. 



2015-2018        MFA, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI
2015-2017        MA, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI
2012-2013        Post-Baccalaureate Program, Oregon College of Art and Craft,
                              Portland, OR
2007-2011        BA, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY


2021-Current   Visiting Artist and Instructor, University of Arkansas- Little Rock, AR
2019                Visiting Lecturer, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
2018-2019       Adjunct Instructor, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
2016-2018       Instructor of Record, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI


2023    standard, abstract, HB381, New York, NY
2022    ghost of a dead flame, Manners/Pappas Gallery, UALR, Little Rock, AR
            Cloud Nine, NCECA Concurrent Exhibition, Sacramento, CA
2021    Collect 2021, Online Edition, Hostler Burrows, London, England
2020    Main Dishes: A Ceramic Encyclopedia, Online Exhibitions, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy
            John Shea: New Work, Hostler Burrows, New York, NY
            Color and Production: From the Atom to the Void, Curated by Libby Sellers
                      for Collective Design, Frieze NY, NYC
            Collect 2020, UK Crafts Council Art and Design Fair, Officine Saffi, London, England
            Forest Primeval, Group Exhibition, Hostler Burrows, Los Angeles, CA
2019    Unwedged, Juried Exhibition, Pottery Northwest, Seattle, WA
            New Gallery Artists, Group Exhibition, Hostler Burrows, New York, NY
            ReVerb, Group Exhibition, City Art Space, Rochester Institute of Technology,
                      Rochester, NY
            Perfect Darkness, Group Show, Milan Design Week, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy
            Collect 2019, UK Crafts Council Art and Design Fair, Officine Saffi, Saatchi Gallery,
                      London, England
            Open to Art, Juried Exhibition, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy (Award Finalist)
            Articulating Craft, Juried Exhibition, Arts Center, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

2018    A Material Thing, Firehouse Gallery, Flower City Art Center,
                 Rochester, NY (Solo Exhibition)
            Visions in Clay, LH Horton Jr Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College,
                 Stockton, CA
            Southern Miss Ceramics National, University of Southern Mississippi,
                 Hattiesburg, MS
            The Clay Studio National, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Objective, Master of Fine Art Exhibition, Art Lofts Gallery, Madison, WI
2017    10 Years in the Making, Concurrent NCECA Exhibition, Portland, OR
            Talente 2017, Internationale Handwerkmesse Munich, Munich, Germany
            Object Logic, Master of Art Exhibition, Gallery 7, Madison, WI
2016    Bizarre Stuff, Commonwealth Gallery, Madison, WI
2015    Practice and Memory, Ash Street Project, Portland, OR
2012    With Fire, Group of Anagama Fired Sculptures, Carmichael Library,
                 Montevallo, AL
2011    A Marker’s Path, Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition, The Lower Mill,
                 Honeoye Falls, NY
2018-2019        Studio Resident, Rochester Institute of Technology,
                              Rochester, NY
2014-2015        Community Artist, Ash Street Project, Portland, OR
2011-2012        Artist In Residence, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL

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