UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
member of graduate faculty
Office: 230 Kleinpell Fine Arts
Randy Johnston has been working in ceramics in his Wisconsin studio for more than thirty eight years. He is recognized internationally as an artist who has pursued functional expression and brought a fresh aesthetic vision to contemporary form, and for his many contributions to the development of wood kiln technology in the United States. He is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, where he teaches ceramics and drawing. His work is exhibited internationally and he is the recipient of numerous awards including the Bush Artist Fellowship granted by the Bush foundation in Minnesota and two Visual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Johnston received his MFA from Southern Illinois University and a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota where he studied with Warren MacKenzie. He also studied in Japan at the pottery of Shimaoka Tatsuzo who was a student of Shoji Hamada. Johnston has presented hundreds of lectures and guest artist presentations worldwide. He has work in the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Art Institute, Boston Museum of fine Arts, Los Angeles County Museum, Nelson Aitkins Museum, Victoria and Albert and numerous otherInternational Public and Private collections.
Ceramic art is an experience of intimacy, delight, uncertainty, bewilderment, and revelation. My art is a declaration of my freedom. It argues for a way of responding that is never separated from impulse or instinct. I must continue to develop ways of thinking that challenge conventional cultural notions and in the process express something.
As I work in ceramics, the reality that is the starting point is the choice to investigate the formal range of the vessel (pot) structure in clay, and the belief in the potential that the pieces must entertain, suggest a narrative and allude to things outside of themselves. The largest question is how to invest my art with life, force, dignity, and with a sensibility to the process and material, simple yet ambiguous and universal.