Artists_42 Ron Kovatch
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Ron Kovatch

Artist Statement

Drawing pictures on paper is a primal act of expression
An urgent process
Ideas and materials are arranged on the paper
Rearranged
Rearranged.
Layers of ideas accumulate
More are added
Some are subtracted.
Like a piece of iron is wrought and rendered by the marriage of intense fire and the blacksmith’s hammer, the picture and the paper become one through a physical process.
Molecules are changed
Sometimes it is like a dance
At other times, like a catharsis
Ideas and marks exploding on paper.

About Ron Kovatch

Before I could intellectualize the concept, I wanted to be an artist. My grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe; my parents were Midwestern, working-class Catholics. On my mother’s side were Polish grandparents who owned a bakery – which was a strong visual and cultural force within our family. My paternal grandparents were Hungarian – grandfather was a toolmaker at Studebaker and grandmother also worked in a factory. My dad was a fireman and my mom worked in the bakery. This typical 1950s – 60s setting was formidable in my growth and upbringing. One vivid recollection was observing my Polish grandfather practicing writing his name in fancy calligraphy on a newspaper. My Hungarian grandmother collected precious cups and saucers that she displayed – but never used. The architecture and rituals of the Church — which I now reject — offered up a sense of fear and awe, and these experiences followed me through art school and into maturity. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA in ceramics, I established a pottery studio in southern Indiana. The pottery lasted 8 years until I got the urge to return to school. Graduate school was my introduction to Dan Anderson and Paul Dresang, as well as other talented and inspiring faculty and students, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). The time I spent at SIUE worked as a catalyst that would guide my studio production and teaching to the present time. At SIUE, I was given the freedom and space to experiment outside the parameters of functional pottery, as well as outside the discipline of ceramics, and that freedom was exhilarating. Teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1989 has served as laboratory for my restlessness and curiosity as an artist. About 10 years ago, during a sabbatical leave from teaching, I decided to leave ceramics, primarily because I felt my contribution to the medium was complete…it’s possible that I was simply burnt out and wanted a new focus. Work on paper ideally fits my short attention span and the broad interests.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2012
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, Millikin University, Perkinson Art Gallery, Decatur, IL. Exhibition, lecture, gallery talk, and the creation of a print in the Art Departments Printmaking studio
2011
DRINKING YESTERDAY’S WATER, Edwardsville Art Center, Edwardsville, IL
2007
McLanahan Gallery, Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, Altoona, PA
2004
Dubhe Carreno Gallery, Chicago, IL
The Indianapolis Art Center, Hurt Gallery, Indianapolis, IN, a separate installation of 36 large-scale ceramic tiles, was also exhibited at the Ruth Lilly Library, also in the Indianapolis Art Center. Both exhibitions coincided with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts 2004 Conference
2003
El Jardin de las Esculturas, Xalapa, Veracurz, Mexico
Leedy/Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO, 2002/2003
2001
Leedy/Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO
McLean County Art Center, Bloomington, IL
1999
RON KOVATCH: A TEN-YEAR SURVEY, Quincy Art Center, Quincy, IL
1998
Galleria de Artes Plasticas, University of Veracruz, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
1997
Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
Tolgyfa Gallery, Hungarian Academy of Craft and Design, Budapest, Hungary
1995
GENDER: A CERAMICS EXHIBITION, George Caleb Bingham Gallery, University of MO-Columbia, MO
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS (INVITED)
2013
TUCSON BIENNIEL, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD, Obsidian Gallery, Tucson, AZ
2012
SOURCES AND INFLUENCES: CLAY ARTISTS, MENTORS AND STUDENTS, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV
2010
GIMME FICTION, 3-person exhibition, Cinema Gallery, Urbana, IL
2009
SMALL FAVORS VI, Reed Smith Gallery, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
2008
LINEWEIGHT, International exhibition of contemporary drawing, Truman State University Art Gallery, curated by Aaron Fine, Kirksville, MO
WHAT THE FUTURE MAY HOLD: ARTISTS CONSIDER THE POST-BUSH WORLD, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
THE 9TH INTERNATIONALL SHOE BOX SCULPTURE EXHIBITION, Traveling venues included
Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
Wellington B. Gray Gallery, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, NM
Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Kahului, HI
Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
RED, an exhibition focusing on the color red in contemporary ceramics, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
ERUDITE LUNACY, Third Street Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
…and I am blue…, Mclean County Arts Center, Bloomington, IL
2007
GLUE, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, WA
FLESH AND BLOOD, Jacob Foran & Ron Kovatch, Cinema Gallery, Urbana, IL
CONSTRUCT REALITIES, Ohio University Art Gallery, Athens, OH
AGAPE, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
9TH INTERNATIONAL SHOE BOX SCULPTURE EXHIBITION, traveling venues:
Clemson University, Lee Gallery, Clemson, SC
Utah State University, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, UT
Robert Rauschenberg Gallery, Edison College, Fort Meyers, FL
University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, TN
University Art Gallery, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
OBJECT ENSHRINED, Louisville Visual Art Association, The Water Tower, Louisville, KY
2006
9TH INTERNATIONAL SHOE BOX SCULPTURE EXHIBITION, University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu, HI, traveling venues:
East Hawaii Cultural Center, Hilo, HA
Olive Hyde Art Gallery, Freemont, CA
Murray State University, The Clara M. Eagle Gallery, Murray, KY
University of Mississippi, Art Gallery, University, MS
30/30, Lill Street Art Center Gallery, Chicago, IL
2005
DAY OF THE DEAD, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
50,000 WATTS: Ceramics by Dan Anderson & Drawings by Ron Kovatch, Cinema Gallery, Urbana, IL
2004
SOFA CHICAGO 2004, Dubhe Carreno Gallery, Chicago, IL
FORMS, McMaster Gallery, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
NATURAL SELECTION, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
ROBERT ARCHAMBEAU: TEACHER, ARTIST, COLLECTOR, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada (3 works from Archambeau’s collection exhibited)
CONTEMPORARY WORKS IN CLAY, Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN
EIGHT FLUID OUNCES, Louisiana State University, School of Art Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA
2003
CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS INVITATIONAL, Heuser Art Center Gallery, Bradley University, Peoria, IL
OBJECTS OF DESIRE, Fine Arts Center Gallery, Northeastern University, Chicago, IL
GROUP INVITATIONAL, Xen Gallery, St. Louis, MO
2002
CLAY SCULPTURE INVITATIONAL, Daum Museum of Art, Sedalia, MO
CLAY CITY, New Fahrenheit Gallery, Kansas City, MO 2002.
INSPIRED IN ILLINOIS, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, IL