Dave Thomas, adjunct professor of art, has worked at Hiram since 1990. A Northeast Ohio native, Thomas realized that he had an interest in ceramics at an early age; but it was his high school art teacher who inspired him to express himself through sculpture.
Since those early years, Thomas has expressed himself through numerous works of art. “Dave Thomas: Then and Now” is a retrospective art show reflecting on his career. The exhibit began September 6th, and his work will be on display until October 21st in the Gelbke Fine Arts Building.
The exhibit features a variety of his sculptures, including several series of work from different points in his life. Colorful clay plates; crackled, glazed Raku bowls; and large, organic sculptures adorn the gallery, combining ancient clay with modern art. Working in a series allows him to “take a singular idea and develop it,” giving him the opportunity to “learn from one piece to another.”
His work is unique and expressive, reflecting the organic nature of the clay from which it is made. He says that “working with the material, processing it, the contact with it, (and) the sensuality of it” are just a few reasons why clay is his medium of choice. He does not have any particular political motive when sculpting, leaving it up to the viewer to determine what it means.
“When I’m working at the wheel, I can’t resist the temptation to make an imprint that I know will leave a permanent mark or indent,” he said. “It reflects back on that earthy elasticity of the clay and where it came from.”
Although his work schedule is “not as regimented as it probably should be,” Thomas works on his art as often as he can. Because some of the larger sculptures can take up to a week to produce, he often works on two or three at a time so that he can “hop back and forth.” While one piece is setting, he takes the time to work on glazing, molding, or perfecting another.
Dave Thomas’ work will be on display until October 21.