My work takes cues from a "shotgun blast" of influences ranging from antiquity to popular culture and is constructed to refer to both the body and also to charged, stylized, surrogates for the body such as dolls, toys, and figurines. The questions that arise from this cultural mishmash fuel my creative practice. I use the human condition as a point of departure where themes related to gender, rites of passage, fertility and mortality are constant “threads” within my creative practice. Throughout life appearance changes slowly and inevitably - in the process our body records this accumulative story. I see the ceramic surfaces I develop as having the same story-telling potential as our skin. Ultimately, I view these “marks” as having the capacity to be both formally beautiful and also serve as a reminder about how things change over time. The concepts of mask, disguise, and transformation are fundamental to my concerns.
Born: Cleveland, Ohio, 1969
Lives: Athens, Ohio
Tom Bartel has lectured, conducted workshops and exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. He received his BFA from Kent State University and his MFA from Indiana University-Bloomington. Bartel is a Professor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he maintains his studio.