John Gargano

Ceramist

Associate Professor John Gargano is a ceramist and became ceramics area coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2000. He has exhibited his work at museums and galleries in 15 states and received awards and Artist Fellowships in Ohio and Louisiana. Professor Gargano earned a B.F.A. with Honors from The Center for Creative Studies in 1992 and a M.F.A. From The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

John has taught in the Study Abroad Paris Program at UL Lafayette, participated in a residency at Watershed in 2011, given numerous Workshops/Lectures at regional universities and at Hartwick College in Onenonta, NY and The Ohio State University. His grant writing efforts funded the creation of an outdoor kiln yard for the Ceramics Area at UL Lafayette. Professor Gargano spends his free time playing music with his band, Cones of Uncertainty, and is often surfing or riding motocross bikes.

Artist Statement

The ideas behind my art work stem from a fascination with Pre-Columbian pottery, mechanisms and forms of the human body, military armament and objects from the industrial world. These elements are intuitively mixed to generate universal forms that have familiarity and feel new, yet retain a link to the past and a hint of identity or function. That mystery captures my interest and gives the work a chance for dialogue or interpretation.

The work often deals with parts, arms, or appendages that connect with pins, ball joints, or slots. Nestling or fitting one form into another is of great concern and requires engineering. Utilizing clay parts not only satisfies my artistic sensibilities, it also full-fills a need to express the importance of mechanics and working with tools.

Growing up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the exposure to steel and automotive industries coupled with decay of "Downtown Detroit" impressed on me the effects of industrial weathering and age. The family trips to Northern Michigan exposed me to the weathering of the natural world through lichen, mosses, dramatic season changes, and the mixes of birch and conifers. These memories and experiences are a vital part of my work’s surface texture and glaze color palette. The glaze colors and surfaces allow my work to transcend time and place by existing in the present but often times feeling weathered, referencing a previous existence.

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