About Thom Bohnert
Thom Bohnert (born St. Louis, Missouri, 1948) is an artist whose works are in a mode of non-categorization, although they have been reviewed as reminiscent concepts of dada, cubism, futurism, surrealism, symbolism, minimalism and postmodern. His ceramics, sculptures and drawings are compositions incorporating a variety of mixed materials. He received a BAA from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art as a student of Richard DeVore.
Influenced by radical changes with ceramic movements of the 60’s, Bohnert’s linear ceramic vessel forms broke away from a traditional or functional pottery format. His innovative and unconventional approach, using a variety of interrelating mixed materials and colorful multi-glazing techniques, opened a unique language with line, color, mass, volume and movement as defining a vessel form. The linear contours of his work, in both ceramics and metal sculpture, reveal a dialogue with the visible (physical) and transparent (implied) transformations of space.
Characteristics of these works are the ambiguities created by multiple structural registrations adding to a complexity of visual information and orientation. The forms perform shifting perceptions from lyrical to poetic, tension to balance, and purity to eccentric, as expressions and exercises for the viewer’s free play.
Bohnert’s art has been described as “drawings in space,” “performance space,” and “filtration's of space.” In the late 80’s he began a series of large scale sculptures titled Trois Cirques, which reference the concept of three rings. The translation of three rings refers to the human experience: the spectator, the performer, and the void, which exists and implicates time and space. In contrast to these minimalist works, his drawings show a more complex layering, allowing the viewer to implicate themselves into a storytelling encounter of spaces. Recent works have developed to a ceramic plate format titled Circle Poems, which generate a theatrical arena of events for personal experience and emotion.
He is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, John Simon Guggenheim foundation, Michigan Council for the Arts, Arts Foundation of Michigan, Creative Artist-Michigan Council for the Arts. Selected museum collections include, Minneapolis Art Institute, Detroit Institute of Art, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Flint Institute of Art, Racine Art Museum, Jinro Foundation-South Korea, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. His work has been included in over 200 exhibitions and numerous books/catalogs/reviews nationally and internationally. As an educator, he has been a college Professor of Art, visiting artist, lecturer, and conducted workshops both in the U.S. and abroad.
It has been stated, "His work is everything ceramics is not supposed to be, but everything ceramics is about."