Theo Uliano received his MFA in Ceramics from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, after earning his BFA in ceramics from Kutztown University. He was named as an Emerging Artist in Ceramics Monthly magazine in 2015 and has since had a feature in the September 2020 issue of the magazine.
He has exhibited his ceramic work across the US and abroad. A former maintenance man, studio technician, and itinerant adjunct professor, Uliano was recently teaching ceramics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. while keeping his studio at home in suburban Philadelphia.
My work is always in transition.
I am currently exploring the vessel and plate form - with gestural curves and lumps, and through naïve or clumsy building methods. The surfaces are pocked with expressive underglaze paintings, drawings, scratches and other marks. My forms often change from functional to sculptural and the drawings flow from representational to abstract. The vessel and painting are the only constants through my disjointed working methods, tangled subject matter, and my inability to commit to one expressive format, be it utility or autonomy.
I use pottery and the vessel as a universal entry point to the ideas represented on the surfaces of my work. I choose to work with the vessel and in a craft material (clay) for its rich history and material iconography. The surface paintings can be simple narratives that are derived from my everyday life, or gestural and intuitive expressions of emotion and material.
The combination of naive illustrations, expressive mark making, gold and silver luster, and gooey glaze on the pots can bring them into the territory of trite, gaudy, cliché or obnoxious. Some surfaces are cute and some sinister, some can be taken at face value and some are subversive. I want this representation of my daily life and my experience in it to be complete with all of its trends, fashions, fractures, failures, and fleeting anecdotes.