Mark Arnold is a studio potter living and working in Elizabeth City, NC. Mark was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and began taking ceramic classes at a community college, shortly after he transferred to Edinboro University where he received his B.F.A in ceramics. In the spring of 2017 Mark received his M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. Mark’s work is represented by multiple galleries around the country and was recently named one of Ceramics Monthly’s 2018 Emerging Artists.
Before my ceramics practices I rode BMX bikes and this has had a strong influence on my work today. I am currently exploring repetition and patterns from my past bike riding experience and how this relationship can help determine subtle variations of form and surface. The jumps I built in the woods were similar to the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The softness of nature interacting with the strong geometric forms is relevant in each piece.
Influences from architecture and abstract expressionism are infused into my utilitarian pottery in a simplified manner. Balance in the surface design of each piece abstracts imagery much like Richard Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series, while leaving subtle hints that leave the viewer interested but not overwhelmed. Wheel thrown and hand built elements create geometric forms, while color is added so that each piece can resemble a 3-dimensional painting. The color palette is simple and muted, mostly white with one color plus the utilization of the red clay body. Terra sigillata brings out the slightly distressed surfaces, reminiscent of brick, wood, and stone, using a black wash to highlight these imperfections. Although individual pieces can stand alone, when they are grouped together they can reference a cityscape or skyline.