Investigating the materiality of the clay is the foundation and focal point for all of my vessels, sculptures and assemblages. I create wheel-thrown and hand-built forms in families, and these sculptural groupings explore the meeting point between natural and man-made worlds. The shapes and surface treatments take their influence from plants, water, rocks and clay, as well as from architecture, industry and machinery. The forms integrate these sometimes opposite sensibilities into a composed landscape, such as a stand of bamboo-like, truncated cylinders, perforated with small windows to look like corroded skyscrapers, or a simple, pure form such as a smooth sphere, marked on its surface with an off-center, wandering imprint, like bird tracks in the sand. The pieces are often truncated, off-center, weathered and perforated, combining natural movement and an apparent state of organic deterioration that invokes the cycle of life, death, decay. They investigate the nature of change, the compiling of memory, and a feeling of profound loss– the recognition of temporal beauty bound inextricably with grief. The pieces are like remnants, a landscape of objects that remain after some kind of significant change, grave markers, or organic matter that has survived a great fire. As creative expressions of form, movement and texture, my work is infused with a modern, minimal aesthetic while at the same time reminding one of a natural or ancient object exposed to the rigors of time. As does nature, my ceramics often incorporate repeated markings and patterns, and explore asymmetry while retaining balance, lightness, and quietude of form.
Biography for Ani Kasten, Ceramic Artist
Ani Kasten was born on November 28th, 1976 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, U.S.A.. The Kasten family left Nantucket in 1984 and settled in Housatonic, Massachusetts. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, in Interlochen Michigan, and then completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Michigan.
After college, in the spring of 2000, Kasten began an apprenticeship with British ceramist Rupert Spira, where she gained a solid foundation in the production of functional studio ceramics under Spira’s strict instruction. After a year in England, Kasten traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal in 2001, where she spent four years as head of a project for developing a stoneware ceramic production facility for artisan potters in the village of Thimi, Nepal. Her training in England and her experiences in Nepal were a formative influence on Kasten’s ceramic sculpture and vessels, which draw on minimalist British studio ceramics, as well as weathered, hand-made antiquities made by indigenous peoples throughout Asia. Kasten greatly benefitted from sharing techniques and materials with artisans from far-flung cultures, and this has given rise to a unique artistic vocabulary that informs her own ceramic work.
After leaving Nepal in 2005, Kasten established her first studio in the United States, in Oakland, California, where the fresh natural beauty of the California coastline in conjunction with extreme urban deterioration began to influence the aesthetic of her ceramics. At this time, Kasten’s focus shifted from functional studio ceramics to sculptural ceramics. Kasten left Oakland in 2007 and became an Artist in Residence at Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD, where she worked closely with ceramic artist Margaret Boozer. Here, she further developed her distinct combination of sculpture and vessel work, showing her ceramics nationally at galleries and fine craft shows. In 2009, Kasten set up her own studio nearby Red Dirt Studio, in the Gateway Arts District of Prince Georges County, Maryland. In 2012, she purchased a historic storefront building in the center Mount Rainier, MD, where she is one of the pioneer artists, along with Margaret Boozer, J.J. McCracken and others, helping to shape the thriving arts community of the Gateway Arts District, located on the Prince Georges County, Maryland border of Washington, D.C.. Kasten spent a year renovating the old shoe repair shop to house her studio as well as workspace for other artists, and set up her home in the apartment over the studio. She continues to exhibit her work nationally and internationally in galleries and fine craft exhibitions. She also creates custom work for designers and collectors on commission from her studio.
2014 Smithsonian Craft Show, Exhibitor’s Choice Gold Award, Washington, D.C.
2010 Montgomery County Individual Artist Grant, Merit Award, Takoma Park, MD
Smithsonian Craft Show, Exhibitor's Choice Silver Award, Washington, D.C.
2009 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Best in Contemporary Clay, Philadelphia, PA
Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington D.C., Exhibitor’s Choice Award, Washington, D.C.
American Craft Council Show, Award of Excellence in Ceramics, Baltimore, MD
Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, Merit Award
2004–2006 Ramsay Merriam Grant, Ramsay Merriam Fund, Washington, D.C.
2002–2006 Ramsay Merriam Grant for the Preservation of Indigenous Craft Traditions,
Ramsay Merriam Fund, Washington, D.C.
2014 Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
2013 Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2010 Sana’a Collection, United States Embassy, Sana’a, Yemen
2015 Visual Arts Center— TCC, ‘From the Ground Up; Ceramics Invitational’, Portsmouth, VA
VACI, ‘From Clay to Table’, Chautauqua, NY
St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, St. Croix, MN
Lacoste Gallery, 'Basic Black; Group Exhibition for NCECA', Concord Art Assoc., Concord MA
AKAR, ‘Yunomi Invitational’, Iowa City, IA
2014 Heath LA, 'In the Rough', Solo Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA
MT Burton Gallery, ‘Nurtured Nature’, Long Beach Island, NJ (August)
Blue Spiral Gallery, ‘Incisive (re)Mark, Abstract Thought’, Asheville, NC (June)
St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour; St. Croix, MN (May) Smithsonian Craft Show; Washington, D.C.
Lacoste Gallery, ‘Compositions: Form and Surface’; Solo Exhibition; Concord MA
AKAR Yunomi Invitational, Iowa City, IA
2013 Northern Clay Center, American Pottery Festival, Minneapolis, MN
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show; Philadelphia PA
AKAR, Yunomi Invitational, Iowa City, IA
St. Croix Pottery Tour, St. Croix, MN
Snyderman Works Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA
American Craft Council Craft Show, Baltimore, MD
2012 Washington Craft Show, Washington, D.C. (November)
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA
Hickock Cole Art Night, Hickock Cole Architecture, Washington, D.C.
Lacoste Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Concord, MA
Tomio Koyama Gallery, ‘Function/Dysfunction', Kyoto, JAPAN
The Clay Studio, Solo Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA
Blue Spiral Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Asheville, NC
2011 Heath Ceramics L.A., 'Rough Hewn', Solo Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA
Snyderman-Works Gallery, 'Three Shades of White', Philadelphia, PA
￼ Crimson Laurel Gallery, 'Containment', Bakersville, NC
Lacoste Gallery, SOFA New York, New York, NY,
Lacoste Gallery, 'The Elusive Tea Bowl', Concord, MA
Lacoste Gallery, New Work, Concord, MA
Blue Spiral Gallery, 'Emerging Clay', Asheville, NC
2010 Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA
Lacoste Gallery, SOFA Chicago, Chicago, IL
Lacoste Gallery, Art in the Berkshires, Stockbridge, MA
Gallery 555, Group Exhibition, Washington D.C.
The Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, D.C.
Lacoste Gallery Solo at SOFA, New York, NY
Lacoste Gallery, 'Fault Lines', Solo Exhibition, Concord, MA
Wood Turning Center, 'Magical Realism/ Material Illusions', Phildelphia, PA
2009 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA
Lacoste Gallery, SOFA Chicago, Chicago, IL
Baltimore Clayworks, 'More than Skin Deep', Group Exhibition, Baltimore, MD
Kobo At Higo, Exhibition with Lilith Rockett, Seattle, WA
Gallery Up, Tea Bowl Invitational, Rock Hill, SC
The Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, D.C.
Lacoste Gallery, SOFA New York, New York, NY
The Katzen Center at American University Museum, Tabletop Sculpture, Washington, D.C.
American Craft Council Baltimore Show, Baltimore, MD
2008 Vessel, 'Imprint', Berkeley, CA
Diane Birdsall Gallery, 'Winter Landscape', Solo Exhibition, Old Lyme, CT
Project 4 Gallery and Hickok Cole Architects, Art Night, Washington, D.C.
Lacoste Gallery, 'Vessel and Sculpture', Concord, MA
Kobo At Higo, Solo Exhibition, Seattle, WA
'Coincide: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture @Artomatic', Washington, D.C.
Project 4 Gallery at the Herman Miller National Design Center,
Art + Space, Washington, D.C.,
Project 4 Gallery, 2, Washington, D.C.
Red Dirt Studio at NCECA, 'The Myth of Permanence', Pittsburgh, PA
2002 Ceramics Apprenticeship with Santa Kumar Prajapati, Master Potter, Thimi Ceramics, Thimi, NEPAL
2001 Ceramics Apprenticeship with Rupert Spira, Master Potter, Church Farm Pottery, Shropshire, ENGLAND
2000 B.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Public and Private Collections
2014 Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
2013 Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Sanaa Collection, United State Embassy, Yemen Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
David and Clemmer Montague, Washington, D.C.
Albert and Tina LeCoff, Philadelphia, PA
Steven Keeble and Karen Depew; Asheville, NC
Leonard and Susan Nimoy, Los Angeles, CA
2012 Ceramics Monthly, ‘Review of “Ani Kasten: Offerings” at the Clay Studio’, September 2012
Ceramics Monthly, ‘Thimi, Nepal: Village Traditions in Flux’, May 2012
2011 Nepal: Nostalgia and Modernity, Edited by Deepak Shimkhada, Marg Publications, 2011
Ceramics: Art and Perception, ‘Review of Ani Kasten: Fault Lines at Lacoste Gallery’, Fall 2011
Home and Design, ‘Urban Chic’, Spring 2011
2009 Home Fort Lauderdale, ‘The Maximalist and the Minimalist”, September 2009
Home and Design, ‘An Artist’s Enclave’, May/June 2009
Metropolitan Home, ‘A Fresh Start’, January 2009
2008 Ceramic Review, ‘New Territories’, May/June 2008
2007 House and Garden, U.K., ‘People– Lifestyle’, October 2007
Architectural Digest, ‘Designer’s Own Homes: Suzanne Lovell’, September 2007
Shelter, ‘Connoisseur’s Delight’, May–June 2007
2005 Architectural Digest, ‘The Craftsman’s Eye’, November 2005
Martha Stewart Living, ‘A Well-Crafted Gathering’, September 2005