Tom Marino

Columbus Dispatch article on Hawk Galleries' 'Brilliant' exhibition


Artist Statement

Transformation is the theme of my ceramics. Concepts about light, space, and time are explored which relate to both their literal and symbolic meanings. The atmospheric glaze imagery is meant to convey the power and alchemy of light. Light can also represent our personal search and aspirations.

Tile Ceramic Paintings

My ceramics often use various glazes to contrast effects on classical vessel forms. The imagery portrays skyscapes, landscapes, flames, wind, and celestial designs in abstract and painterly ways. The tile paintings explore these same themes, and others, and are designed as framed paintings offering a formal presentation. The tile paintings reprise my earlier work in painting and interest in mosaic, stained glass, and tile patterns. They are also inspired by my interest in impressionistic, contemporary, and Asian art.

I create many of my own glazes which utilize my chemistry background. Multiple glazes are used that are layered, wiped, sprayed, and brushed to achieve various effects. The ceramic tiles are fired to cone 10 (2350 degrees F) under a heavy reduction atmosphere.

Crucible Series

The Crucible Series further explores the idea of transformation, whether personal, collective, or scientific. The bowl-vessel form creates a place where dynamic change is fueled by events and aspirations that require a potent response when time decrees. The resulting process can forge a regeneration that leads to a new understanding or revelation.

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, true knowledge, and redemption. The Crucible Series is meant to convey the power, inspiration, and alchemy of light. 

The glaze and colors used in the Series signify the heat and light that accompany the Crucible process, often from an uncertain or mysterious beginning. The mirrored surfaces invite the observer to ponder and possibly participate in their own quest and discovery. Modern science (which has transmuted lead into gold) is the new alchemy that aspires to transform our understanding of reality.

Reliquary Series

The Reliquary vessels are repositories that enshrine transformational revelations attained through a life changing, crucible experience. The precious metal and colored surfaces reflect the reverence for sacred knowledge and the transmutation from base to noble ideals. The temple-like ancient symbols featured express the iconology and principle of “As above, so below”:  the universal correspondence between the macro and micro worlds. While the Crucible Series is about process and experience, the Reliquary Series is about attainment and honoring. The Crucible Series and the Reliquary Series celebrate the alchemy of Light.     

I have worked in clay for over thirty years and am mainly self-taught. My background in chemistry, interest in science and personal studies all inform the Crucible Series. My ceramics have won numerous awards and are included in many private and public collections including the Canton Museum of Art, the Crocker Museum of Art, the American Museum of Ceramic Arts, the Zanesville Museum of Art and the Block Museum. I have exhibited nationally and internationally including the Zanesville Prize in Contemporary Ceramics, SOFA Chicago, the Ohio Designer Craftsmen Guild "Best Of", the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition and the Toledo Museum of Art, a one-person exhibition at the Zanesville Museum of Art, and the 11th International Ceramics Competition, Mino, Japan (including a traveling exhibition). Also, I had the happy opportunity to gift my ceramics to the Dali Lama.

I want to thank and acknowledge Tony Ball, owner of Tork Inc., for his exceptional skill and dedication to detail in applying the silvering process used in my ceramics. Tony’s expertise is essential to achieving my vision in creating the Crucible and Reliquary Series. Thanks, Tony!

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