Mark Pharis of Roberts, Wisconsin, was introduced to ceramics in 1967 at the University of Minnesota. He studied with Warren MacKenzie, which he described as a “transformational experience.” He set up a pottery studio in 1973 in a rural area outside Houston, Minnesota, where he produced work until 1989. He was a faculty member at the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota and was department chair and later associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
“Since 1992, I have worked exclusively in earthenware,” he said. “My three-dimensional forms are hand built and arrived at through the use of two-dimensional paper patterns and clay slabs. The process owes much to the traditions of pattern making found in sewing and sheet metal work.”
He has typically participated in six to ten group exhibitions each year, with one or two solo-exhibitions within a period of two or three years. The TableSpace exhibition held at Alfred University late last year was the subject of several publications and a catalog this year.
“Mark Pharis has consistently brought an invigorating and contemporary vitality to the traditional conventions of pottery, finding shape, surface, and color through a lens that playfully captures and interprets architectural and geometric references,” said ACC Awards Committee Member Anne Currier. “Generous as an educator, Mark is highly respected by individuals who feel fortunate to have had him as a teacher.”