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Nicholas Bonner

American, b. 1954

Electric Blue and Green Vibrations
1986

Stoneware
22 x 24 x 24 in.
Museum Purchase with the Charter Member Endowment Fund
1987.15

The roots of Nicholas Bonner’s Electric Blue and Green Vibrations date to about ten years before its conception, during his BFA work at Alfred University in New York. Bonner’s teacher, Wayne Higby (see Untitled Bowl, 1973–74), returned from a sabbatical with images of architecture and tile from Middle East ruins. These images prompted him to investigate organic and geometric forms more closely, and while working at Utah State University he found himself randomly slicing organic clay forms and making geometric shapes, which to his surprise, reminded him of Utah mountains and buildings. Bonner had worked with toxic glazes, raku, and terra sigillata prior to his move to Logan, but for eighteen months he sprayed acrylic paint on this sculpture series. Bonner calls this “room temperature” glaze, because it does not have to be fired.

Bonner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has continued to live while teaching across the river at Northern Kentucky University for the past twenty-three years. Paul Bernhardt, his high school teacher, mentored Bonner, Chris Staley (see Teapot and Bowl, 1988) and Malcolm Mobuto Smith (see L’Ocean Cloud Cup, 2005). prompting them to become ceramists, as well encouraging all of them to attend the renowned program at Alfred University. Bonner received his BFA at Alfred in 1978. After his MFA from Ohio University in 1981, he had several jobs and participated in many workshops before accepting a position at Utah State University for four years (1985 to 1989), where he worked with John Neely and Larry Elsner (see the exhibition case with their work). He was recently named director of the Galleries for the Clay Alliance space at the Pendleton Art Center, which houses 150 potters in Cincinnati.

Billie Sessions, PhD.


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