Toledo ceramicist’s “Crucible Series” vessel on display in Elkhart museum
The artwork, Crucible Series: Stella, was most recently exhibited at 20 North Gallery in the 2020 Toledo Federation of Art Societies’ TFAS100+3: Juried Members’ Exhibit, where it came to the attention of MMAA director and curator Brian Byrn who was the exhibition judge and awarded it an Honorable Mention.
During the run of the exhibit, Byrn expressed interest in acquiring the artwork for his institution; the MMAA collection features work by American artists of the 19th throughout the 21st centuries, with special emphasize on those with a connection to the American Midwest. In February 2021, 20 North Gallery owner Eric Hillenbrand and art director Condessa Croninger, as Marino’s representatives, delivered Crucible Series: Stella to the MMAA, where it is now installed for public display.
MMAA director and curator Brian Byrn states, “We are delighted to receive into our collection a work by this distinguished Midwestern artist. Tom Marino’s deft craftsmanship in ceramics creates the illusion of metal and glass, while adroitly layering concepts of beauty, philosophy and science.”
Crucible Series: Stella, ceramic by Tom Marino, 9.5” (24 cm) in diameter, wheel-thrown porcelain, glazed, cone 10 reduction, post-fired with silver and tint
Tom Marino holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan Technological University (Houghton), where he also pursued graduate work. He is a longtime member and former President of the Toledo Potters’ Guild, located at the Toledo Botanical Garden (Ohio), as well as an Independent member of Toledo Federation of Art Societies. Marino has worked in clay for over thirty years, combining his background in chemistry, personal studies and interest in science and contemporary art to inform his ceramic aesthetic.
Marino’s award-winning work is included in many permanent museum collections including the Canton Museum of Art (Ohio), the Crocker Museum of Art (Sacramento, California), the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA, Pomona, California), the Zanesville Museum of Art (Ohio), the Block Museum (Evanston, Illinois), the Midwest Museum of American Art (Elkhart, Indiana), as well as the permanent collection of Ceramics Monthly (Westerville, Ohio).
He has exhibited regularly in the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art (Ohio) and the juried Crosby Festival of the Arts at Toledo Botanical Garden, in which he has participated annually since 1980. He exhibits nationally and internationally in venues such as the Ohio Designer Craftsmen Best Of at the Ohio Craft Museum (Columbus) and SOFA Chicago (Illinois). Recently, his work was selected for exhibition in the 47th International Glass Invitational Award Exhibition at Habatat Galleries (Royal Oak, Michigan) in 2019. In 2016 he enjoyed a solo exhibition at Zanesville Museum of Art and, in 2017, his work appeared at the 11th International Ceramics Competition (Mino, Japan), before being short-listed for a touring exhibition by that museum. His work will be also featured in an upcoming exhibition at 20 North Gallery, The Alchemist’s Dream.
Transformation is the theme of my ceramics including concepts about light, space and time. The Crucible Series explores transformational ideas, whether personal, collective or scientific. The bowl-vessel form creates a place where dynamic change is fueled by crucial events that require a potent timely response. This process can forge a regeneration that leads to a new understanding or revelation, often from an uncertain or mysterious beginning. Glazes and colors used to signify heat and light. Also, the silver mirrored surfaces invite the observer to reflect and participate in their own quest and discovery.
The Crucible Series also references the alchemist whose quest was to transmute base lead into noble silver or gold. That pursuit was also a philosophy and a metaphor for achieving enlightenment and true knowledge. The Crucible Series explores the power and alchemy of light and transcendence. Modern science (which has transmuted lead into gold!) is a new alchemy that is revealing and transforming our understanding of reality.
The Midwest Museum of American Art is located at 429 South Main St., Elkhart, Indiana 46516 / (574) 293-6660 / midwestmuseum.org