Chris Gryder Ceramic Art
Chris’s path has consistently gravitated towards and found redemption in “making,” whether in Architecture School at Tulane where his attraction for physical form was explored in the sanctioned realm of cardboard models, or in the sun drenched playground for architects in the Arizona desert known as Arcosanti, a place where the medium of silt, clay and concrete are the primary means of expression. Playing in the dirt, he seemed to find his medium of choice and let his activities range from the scale of ceramic houses as demonstrated by Nader Khalili at CalEarth in southern California to the hand held clay creations afforded and indulged upon at Paolo Soleri’s ceramic studio at the edge of the Sonoran. He later found a nurturing environment for these tendencies while earning his MFA at RISD and achieved breakthroughs working with clay and earthen mixtures, leading to his current body of work. He now resides in Roanoke, Virginia, nestled within the phenomenal beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.chrisgryder.com
Chris Gryder Ceramic Art
“I create sculptural ceramic objects that engage with a deep sense of time and history; a geological time and the time of civilizations. There is a visceral joy, a complete indulgence in the tactile geometric form that evokes a world where wonder still reigns. A place at the edge of the wild.”
Chris’ work communicates through shape and texture, making use of the timeless language of direct sensual experience. There is a primitive quality to it, echoing the pan-cultural tradition of creating decorative art that is meant simply to convey the way the maker feels about the world.
This is an art of pure sensation that doesn’t rest on a concept, a social statement, or any kind of idea at all. It feels vaguely archaeological without seeming to reference any time period or culture in particular. When we think of ancient civilizations, or even our own distant past, part of what colors our mental experience is the stylized art of that time, much in the same way that black and white photography molds the way we see our own more recent past. Chris’ work manages to make use of that feeling without being identifiably anchored in any time or place. It’s easy to see why he says his work is closely tied to time and history.
Chris’ tiles, and especially his tile mosaics, make use of enough familiar patterns and shapes that you sometimes get the feeling you recognize what you’re looking at. Yet his work never yields to any concrete interpretation. It’s not a theme, an image, or an identifiable source that holds any one piece together, but rather the elegance of the geometry itself, the way one part flows into another, giving it a feeling of coherence and oneness. There’s something soothing about the smooth, arcing lines that connect one panel to another, while the different patterns, shapes, and colors make each piece vibrant and stimulating to look at. Much of his work seems to blend harmony and chaos into something that feels coherent despite the paradox.
Just from a technical perspective, his tile mosaics are truly impressive pieces of craftsmanship. The details deserve to be admired in their own right, whether it’s the smooth and geometrically tight arcs and swirling lines, or the remarkable consistency of the pebbles, scales, and other repeating shapes that he uses to create large fields of texture. It’s this kind of attention to detail – and the technical prowess that it requires – that turns a promising concept into a truly exceptional work of art.
You should definitely check out Chris’ website, where you can buy tile mosaics, individual tiles, and ceramic vessels. His website also includes a blog, images from his Instagram, and more information about his work and education history as well as some insight into his approach and his inspirations. He is a very talented artist whose work deserves a large audience.