Mark Gordon, M.F.A.

Associate Professor of Art

B.A., Oberlin College
M.F.A., The Ohio State University

Case Art Building | 800-345-4973 x6474

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Gordon serves as an associate professor of art at Barton College where he has taught in the Department of Art since 1999.

Gordon has presented over 100 lectures and workshops in 19 states and seven foreign countries. He has been recognized with numerous awards and grants. He has held numerous art residencies across the nation as well as in Caracas, Venezuela; Cairo, Egypt; Madrid, Spain; Jerusalem, Israel; and La Romana, Dominican Republic.  Gordon was a Fulbright Lecturer at the Facultad de Artes, Universidad Nacional in Obera, Argentina, in 1991.

From 1980 to 1983, Gordon taught at Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic, creating a vocational workshop for local youth. Next, for 18 months, he traveled throughout the Mediterranean, observing and documenting traditional pottery and brickmaking. Gordon had the opportunity to return to the Dominican Republic in the fall of 2006, invited by the Igneri Foundation to jury the Third International Elit-Tile Ceramics Triennial.

Gordon’s undergraduate studies included Bachelor of Arts degrees in both philosophy and physical education at Oberlin College in Ohio, and his graduate studies culminated in a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio State.

Gordon’s work has been featured on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated magazine with an article “Pushing the Envelope” on his process of wet/dry clay assembly.  He was featured in a career profile interview and images of his artwork were included in the Davis Publications textbook Experience Clay by Maureen Mackey. Gordon’s work has appeared in American Ceramics; Ceramics Monthly; The New York Times; American Craft;  Clay Times: The Journal of Ceramic Trends and Technique; Revista Internacional Cerámica [Spain]; and Ceramics: Art and Perception [Australia].

Artist’s Statement

Sometimes, my wheelthrown pottery seems to echo Greek or Chinese forms. In contrast, the non-vessel ceramic and mixed-media pieces may refer to architectural fragments, juxtapose three-dimensional geometries, or explore expressions of biomorphic musings. Four decades ago, the physicality of clay, along with its remarkable ability to freeze action, to respond to physical impact, to retain any fleeting impression, immediately and permanently captured my interest. Simply stated, clay is the universal medium; potters’ vessels have marked the world’s material culture for millenia.  My work explores inherent properties of clay transformed through the kiln’s incandescent energy. I consider claywork to be a mode of invention, an effort to pull form out of inchoate matter. At times, the result includes an element of discovery and surprise.

I would say that my inspiration is often derived from an eclectic mix – nature and plant growth, animal skeletons, machinery, scrap yard treasures, and international travel.  I see artwork as a melding of idea and action, of inspiration and impulse. These days, my favorite piece of artwork is on a mantel at home: a small stone axehead from the Dominican Republic, its shape remarkably streamlined and smooth. The (pre-)history of this object lends it a sense of impenetrable mystery.