Artist spotlight: Ohio sculptor Jack Earl

Jack Earl was born in Uniopolis, Ohio on August 2, 1934.  He studied art throughout high school and college, eventually graduating with a Masters of Fine Art from Ohio State University in 1964.  He took a position teaching art education and ceramics at the Toledo Museum of Art, where he first discovered European figurative ceramics through the museum’s book collection.  The figurines inspired him, especially in their ability to tell a story through sculpture, and he was soon making hard-paste porcelain pieces of his own.  Unlike the more idealized European tradition, Earl’s work was unique in its life-like representation of everyday life in the American midwest.  His work sometimes acknowledges his own participation in an event by writing a poem or message to the subject. 1972 saw his first overseas showing take place at the International Exhibition of Ceramics in London’s Victoria and Albert museum.  He continued to be exhibited over four decades in both galleries and museums, including Clay Things at Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, and the American Craft Museum.  Since 1995 Nancy Margolis Gallery of New York has exhibited his work on more than 10 occasions, both solo shows and multiple showings with SOFA, the Sculpture Objects Functional Art fair.  In May of 2013, Earl received the coveted Governor’s Award for the Arts for Individual Artist.