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Jonathan Cross

Jonathan Cross is one of the most dynamic artists and ceramicists working in North America today. Utilizing an ancient wood-firing technique, the master ceramicist creates singular objects and vessels that suggest ancient geological forms reinterpreted for a modern world.

Cross never set out to become a ceramic artist. After receiving his BFA from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, he relocated to Los Angeles where he worked at the prestigious Gemini G.E.L. print shop. During this five year period, Cross refined his strong graphic sensibility and worked with some of the biggest names in contemporary art, including Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Ann Hamilton.

The art world was calling and Cross changed gears once he rediscovered a love for working with clay. Initially, he began by making planters for his collection of rare and unusual cacti and succulents. He jumped at the chance to work with acclaimed ceramic artist Don Reitz, which inspired the artist to pursue a MFA at Arizona State University. The postgraduate degree offered an immersion into ceramics and the fundamentals of clay, kilns as well as the necessities of running a professional studio.

Cross gravitated to the ancient process of wood-firing, which gives each piece a patina that evokes ancient artifacts, old stone structures or discarded post apocalyptic future relics. The artist’s point of view - one very much of the art world - was complemented by the technique and he began producing a wide range of visually rich objects, from functional vessels to purely abstract forms.

The vessels produced by Jonathan Cross Studio suggest simple minimalist containers that draw on the artist’s interest in geology, science fiction and modern art. Sculptural pieces, bold and primitive in their forms, combine a modern sensibility with a sense of textural materiality. Today, Cross’ printmaking background is still evident in his pieces, which favor strong silhouettes, hard edge lines and repetitive leitmotif.

“I like to say that my work is intuitive and not really preplanned,” the artist says. “In the studio my intuition is informed by my subconscious which I curate by the books I read, shows I watch and art that I appreciate. Drawing is another way that I think about my work.”

After refining his aesthetic and technique at graduate school, Cross relocated to Pasadena, California where he divides his time between his eponymous studio and his wood kiln located in the desert community of Twentynine Palms, CA. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the Southwest from Los Angeles, CA to Dallas, TX. His work is represented in many private collections as well as the Las Cruces Museum of Art, New Mexico and the National Bonsai Museum in Washington D.C.
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