Henry Crissman

Adjunct Faculty
MFA in Ceramics at The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University


View some of Henry Crissman‘s work

Building on, emphasizing and reimagining the formal, communal, and transformational potential of ceramics, my work is an exploration of art as a means, not an end. The objects I create are both catalysts for and byproducts of my broader and more communally and pedagogically oriented activity as an artist and educator.

My approach to making is rooted in an ethic that celebrates the democratic nature of vernacular art traditions while embracing the importance of critical engagement with the present through creative practices. My desire to work with the materials around me and the images, issues, observations and questions that I encounter has brought all manner of media and methods into my work, but I continually return to ceramics and the opportunities posed by its potential applications and historical associations. Through ceramics, I sustain a practice of seeing and being in the world with an open and critical mind. In the studio, this manifests as continually tending to and working back over the things I have started and collected, reviewing my library of memories and materials, and seeking compositions in form and image which feel physically and conceptually poignant.

Clay connects us to the earth and it reveals our capacity to form the world around us. Kilns serve as beacons for participation. Compelling shapes and sights garner interest and trust. Found objects and images offer the opportunity to work with specific subjects undistorted by my lens of representation. Paint, pastels and glaze frequently lead toward more abstract and subconscious compositions which reveal themselves as I describe what I see in the clouds. My phone number is a motif I continually return to when total abstraction feels unjustifiable. Sculptures direct focus on their embedded concepts. The utility, familiarity and intimacy of pottery encourages that we make time to connect with ourselves and one another over food and drink. Collaborations with institutions support site-specific and mutually beneficial projects. The safe and explorational space of the classroom fosters a deeply fulfilling and critical community that continually seeds and encourages my personal practice in and of the process.

Professional Experience

To learn more about Henry, please visit www.henrycrissman.com

Significant Publications, Presentations and Exhibitions