Karl SchwiesowEllensburg, Washington

Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2018-19, (AIA) 2016, 2017

Karl Schwiesow is an American artist and art educator working in a variety of media including ceramics, painting, drawing, and sculpture. He was born in Homer, Alaska and spent summers commercial fishing with his family. He was a Long-Term Artist in Residence at the Red Lodge Clay Center from 2018-2019, the Ceramic Artist in residence at the Sonoma Community Center in Sonoma California, and a Summer Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena. Karl lives and works in Ellensburg, Washington. He holds a BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics from Sierra Nevada University and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Montana.

My work considers the relationship of handmade art objects with found and altered objects of utility and leisure seen through the lens of open and closed semantic systems by way of subverting functional fixedness.

I combine objects that generate an inconclusive narrative in an effort to expose a dependency between open and closed systems of meaning and purpose. Through the lens of an open system the viewer experiences the piece visually first without terminology. The verbal occurs second, allowing for sensory experience to influence the specificity of language.  When the viewer experiences language first and sensory second it is a closed system because the term is attached to the object.  When the viewer experiences the sensory first and the terminology second it is an open system because the sensory is emotional and is not easily defined.

My art is rooted in exploring and expanding the physical and associative characteristics of an object’s original intention and to invent creative formulas which weave together imagery, materials, and concepts in a way that re-frames meaning at which point the object becomes a starting point for dialogue between our shared cultural experiences and assumptions.