Wade MacDonaldTuscaloosa, AL


Wade Folger MacDonald was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Western Michigan University. Upon graduation, Wade traveled extensively throughout Europe, conducting art and design research in Germany and the Czech Republic. Prior to attending graduate school, Wade worked as a Ceramics Laboratory Technician and Ceramics Instructor at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2014, Wade obtained a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Ceramics from Michigan State University. As a graduate student, Wade received the Stanley and Selma Hollander Graduate Fellowship in Studio Art, the Varg-Sullivan Award for Distinguished Research, and the John and Susan Berding Family Foundation Endowment Juried MFA Prize. Wade has exhibited nationally and has completed artist residencies at Banff Centre and Anderson Ranch Art Center. He currently teaches Ceramics and Foundations at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Architectural design and construction endeavors to be the apogee of art production and a prominent form of new utilitarian sculpture. By analyzing stylistic commonalities, modes of production, and the utilitarian objectives of contemporary structures, global societal characteristics are identified and consequently addressed.

Prominent deconstructivist architects such as, Rem Koolhaas, Coop Himmelblau, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman and Zaha Hadid intentionally use conventions of postmodernism as commentary: stylistic isolationism, disconnection, disharmony and pastiche. Behind seemingly cold metallic exteriors and harshly angled and lighted interiors, profoundly human and societal aspects are explored. Deconstructivist architecture captivates the public through its highly aestheticised trademarks. However, these buildings are often misinterpreted and their impact, underestimated.

The bridge between ceramics and architecture is multifaceted and synergetic. Both address social dilemmas through their aestheticism and utilitarianism. By heightening this correlation through the contextualization of the table and the use of multiple construction materials a more affable human quality to contemporary architecture emerges. As architectural models, viewers gain insight into their unique place within a larger social landscape. Clay acts as a conduit between past and present notions of material innovation, challenging our concepts of new architectural paradigms as well as questioning our responsibility in the global twenty-first century.

As a studio artist, I embrace handcraft and digital methodologies as I work toward defining sculpture that is personally and culturally significant. Working within the continuum of ceramic history, I use the intimacy of the vessel format to explore a range of social narratives. I build ‘vessels’ with sections formed by pressing terra cotta clay into plaster molds the way bricks are formed, yet their final structures recall the dynamism of digitally rendered architecture through their complex planar relationships.

Through the process of research, ideation, and practice, I have formed the groundwork for celebrating the human element of contemporary architecture and the vessel and their relationship as common structures or ideas that reflect similarly the complexities of existing within a twenty-first century global society.