Ryan Osborne | ceramic artist




 As a native of Kingsport, Tennessee, a relatively small town just above and to the right of the Great Smoky Mountains, I grew up being attracted to the natural world around me. Whether it’s Tennessee’s rolling hills, mountains, lakes, or rivers, I was always out exploring in my own way, and still do today. I have also always had a great deal of interest in art, even at an early age, and consider myself lucky to have attended great schools and universities for nourishing my love and desire to make art. In high school I took every art class that was offered, including two ceramics courses, and I think that really built the foundation for the artist that I have become. After high school I went on to study at five colleges, ultimately receiving my Bachelor of Arts at Ferrum College in 2011. Out of the undergraduate schools that I attended, Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia, and Ferrum College were by far the most essential to my creative growth. In 2014 I received my Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Kent State University, where I studied under the direction of the late Kirk Mangus, and his wife and colleague, Eva Kwong. Without their guidance, enduring mentorship, and love for their students, I would not be the artist that I am today.

Artist Statement:

 My sculpture is based around one central element: the human form. After abstracting the human elements, my works begin to suggest landscapes, bodies or parts of a body. My sculpture is about form, spontaneity, and working intuitively. While I actively sketch out my thoughts, I often do not rely on my sketches and tend to build my sculptures as I go, stopping occasionally to smooth things out or to add sections to make them more asymmetrical. I would like the viewer to walk away from my work feeling everything that I am trying to express; whether it's in the form of a leg, a head, an arm, a breast, or even a full figure, but there is also something that is most satisfying about a person being able to envision my art from a completely different perspective than what I intended. I also love being able to test the clay’s structural limitations as a medium, therefore, I want you to experience the physical relationship I have with my material; the smoothness of a form, its tension, and both its curvilinear or linear qualities. I am fascinated by the range of possibilities that result from atmospheric firings, which are derived from wood and salt kilns, as well as the immediacy and range of colors achieved from raku kilns and post-fire reduction. I feel like wood firing, in particular, is a great complement to my work, and although it is controllable to a degree, there is always a great deal of chance involved with wood firing. The unpredictability of wood firing, combined with the flow of air, fire, and ash is something that I think works well with my work, and makes the clay become more alive. The variety of colors and surface textures, and the soft, sensuous curves accentuate the sculptural and tactile qualities of my forms. I am seeking a synthesis of each of these qualities in my work.