Nolan Peter Baumgartner

My work has transitioned over the years, moving from my functional roots to sculptural, figurative, and mixed media, and then finally back to its functional origins. While exploring figurative work, I focused on anonymous, faceless (sometimes upper-body-less) characters, whose only clues to their meaning are their posture and stance and how they are interacting with the environment. My sculptural forms have given way to a more microcosmic expression of functionality.

I focus on making work that can be used comfortably and easily, all the while maintaining a sense of beauty and splendor. My forms and surfaces are influenced by an Asian and Middle Eastern aesthetic, though it is run through a wide-angle American lens. The surface is defined with polka dots, ellipses, and “lotus” petals that I render in slips and glaze, which are mapped out based on proportional relationships to the form. After the precise formation and decoration, the elements and atmosphere of the soda kiln complete the work. Ultimately, the interaction of the glazes, slips, and fire obscure, yet enhance, the preconceived cogency of the patterns.