Philadelphia native, Theo Uliano, received his MFA in Ceramics at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia in 2011, after earning his BFA in Ceramics at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania in 2007. He is an artist, adjunct professor, and a painfully self-conscious poet.
Listen to Theo discuss his work and process on The Potter’s Cast
My work is always in transition.
I am currently exploring the vessel and plate form - with gestural curves and lumps and formed through naïve or clumsy building methods. The surfaces are pocked with expressive underglaze paintings, drawings, scratches, and other marks. My forms often change from functional to sculptural and the drawings flow from representational to abstract. The vessel and painting are the only constants through my disjointed working methods, tangled subject matter, and my inability to commit to one expressive format, be it utility or autonomy.
I use pottery and the vessel as a universal entry point to the ideas represented on the surfaces of my work. I choose to work with the vessel and in a craft material (clay) for its history and material iconography (baggage). The surface paintings can be simple narratives that are derived from my everyday life, or gestural and intuitive expressions of emotion and material.
The combination of naive illustrations, expressive mark making, gold and silver luster, and gooey glaze on the pots are used to make them trite, cliché or obnoxious. Some surfaces are cute and some sinister, some can be taken at face value and some are subversive. I want this representation of daily life and my experience to be complete with all of its fashions, failures, fractures, and fleeting anecdotes.
- Wheel Thrown & Handbuilt Ceramics
- Earthenware fired to cone 1
I couldn’t make my work without Speedball Underglazes. I originally started using them because they where the only underglazes that would survive high firing in reduction, especially the red. When I switched to earthenware and mid-lowfire I found that they were the brightest and most vibrant colors I could find. My favorites are the Pink and Chartreuse.