BIONDO-GEMMELL, Susannah (American)












Electrical Sculpture




LINKS:            “Momento” Blog   Images and interview for “Moment”, a mixed-media, time-based art installaion created as a collaboration between Susannah Biondo-Gemmell and Jennifer Rogers for the State of Iowa Clay Conference in September of 2011.


  • 2004-06 MFA in Ceramic Art, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY
  • 1999-2002 BFA in Ceramic Art, Psychology Minor, Washington University, School of Art, St. Louis, MO (Summa Cum Laude)
  • 1998-99 Webster University, School of Art (BFA), St. Louis, MO
  • 1996-97 University of Southern California, School of Theatre (BFA), Los Angeles, CA

March 2012: NCECA, Seattle–“On the Edge”  I will be a part of the panel “Ceramics at the Edge of Form” on Friday March 30th from 3-4:30. The panel will be moderated by Amy Gogary and include ceramic artists Linda Swanson and Daniel Bare. As Amy Gogarty writes, “We will investigate the state of ceramics “at the edge of form”, revealing a vision of ceramics based less on specialized knowledge and traditional skills and more on energizing elements of uncertainty, chance, and transformation.”

September 2011: “Momento” Exhibition    Sinclair Galleries, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA  Time-based ceramic art piece created in collaboration with Jen Rogers

September 2011: Featured Artist at Iowa Clay Conference  —  Held at Cedar Rapids Ceramics Center, Cedar Rapids, IA.  I will be exhibiting work, giving a slide presentation of my artwork, and providing a technical demonstration on mold-making and slip-casting.

August 2011: “64 Arts National Juried Exhibition 2011”, Buchanan Center for the Arts, Monmouth, IL.  Received the “Ceramic Award”, Juror: Adrian Arleo

March-April 2011: “2 x 2 Small Scale Ceramic Sculpture Exhibition”, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA. Juror: Rain Harris

January 2011: “Convergence” Exhbition, Mt. Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, IA. 2-Person Ceramic Art Exhibition with Andrew Gemmell. Artist Talk: Friday, February 4th at 4pm. Closing Reception: Friday, February 4th, 5-7pm

October 2010: “Cornell College Faculty Exhibition”, Gallery Off First, Mt. Vernon, IA. Cornell College Art faculty will be exhibiting at our new student-run gallery, Gallery Off First, beginning October 16th.

ARTIST STATEMENT from the Artist’s Website

My work is about the containment and release of heat and light. I use ceramic materials to create forms which shape and articulate the energy source. In one body of work, I create large scale “kiln” sculptures that are fired outdoors as public performance pieces. I may use photo projection and audio effects to amplify the firing process. Other times, the ceramic process is left untouched by other medias. These pieces are always a response to the site and community in which they are built. The object afterward, whether functional or purely sculptural, is left as an artifact of the firing event.

In another body of work, I use ceramic materials to make visible the metaphysical nature of energy exchange. I use cast glaze, porcelain, kanthal wire, and siverleaf to create “receptacles” for heat and light. The expandable glaze acts both functionally, as a refractory insulator, and sculpturally, as reference to earthly sites where such events may occur. Electricity is my animating principle and remains present in the “machine objects” I create. I retain “fire” through the form of electricity, as a means to demonstrate, rather than illustrate, energy exchange. Electricity is “fire” made contemporary. These “machine objects” are an antithesis to the outdoor firing pieces—they are intimate, quiet, and demand a viewer’s readiness to suspend his/her disbelief. One is asked to invest in the subtle incurring storyline.

My “object drawings”, that is the sculptures without electrical current, represent a moment past. I cut into blocks of material to excavate a porcelain shape—a “drawing” that is an artifact of the firing process. The undulating line of porcelain is the meeting point between mass and cavity—the collision of two energy forces. I excavate this path as a linear record of the creative moment. These “object drawings” create a post-phenomenon experience, acting as an artifact of some great transformation that once occurred.

My interest in ceramic phenomenology and material experimentation is core to my studio practice. Reference to the ceramic firing process is present in both gas and electric form. My creative explorations with these forces are manifested through ceramic materials, but they speak of greater relationships, both personal and geological, that serve as life’s driving force.