Dennis Gerwin

Artist Statement

"My pottery evolves organically by building on the strengths of past series, and by using my best works (and other anomalies) in my home, observing how they function and converse visually with my collection of other people’s pottery. All of the pots are made to be useful, but I also think of them as personified. They are handled rather roughly to leave marks from the process, which are exaggerated when stretched for maximum volume. As with people, I find beauty in their stories and imperfections.

My surfaces capture atmosphere. The earth tones are achieved by firing with wood. Trees are made of silica and carbon, but also contain soluble salts for photosynthesis. When the wood is exposed to heat, the carbon is released along with gasses containing salt vapor. As the flame navigates through the kiln, it leaves a trail of this vapor, which lowers the melting point of the clay. Glass begins to form visibly at around 2200ºF. Soon after, the ash itself begins to melt. At 2500ºF the clay begins to melt, and the process is stopped. Aesthetically, the wood fired works are survivors, because their surfaces are developed over days of burning through cords of wood and recording the arduous process. When I’m not firing with wood, I use glazes that are sensitive to the atmosphere of a gas-burning kiln. I experiment with elements like copper and iron, which are very sensitive to oxygen. These chemical elements become complex varied surfaces, slowly revealing the imperfect stories within." - Denny Gerwin

Artist Bio

Denny Gerwin began his education near his hometown at Bowling Green State University in Ohio where he earned a BFA in 3D Studies in 2004. Then, he pursued post-bach studies for two years at the Hartford Art School in Connecticut.  After finishing his MFA at Utah State University in 2009 he was hired on as adjunct faculty in Ceramics and Sculpture. In 2010 Denny was featured in the Emerging Artist issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine. He was also awarded a residency in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry program in Kohler, Wisconsin. After working for two years as a lecturer of ceramics and foundations art at Central Michigan University, Denny accepted a position as Assistant Professor of 3D Art at Queens University of Charlotte in 2012.

Denny enjoys showing his work in national juried exhibitions and regional invitational exhibitions. He also travels around the country doing workshops involving demonstrations of specialized techniques and processes, lectures about experiences in his artwork and in teaching, and working with groups of artists and students to fire wood-burning kilns. 

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