Ian Mabry

Artist Statement

My work is inspired by the visual qualities of biological and mechanical systems. I am drawn to the way the forms of organic structures and synthetic mechanisms flow into and out of one another and my eyes follow one part to the next with curiosity and intrigue. I strive for my work to combine these organic and machine-like qualities and to evoke the same kind of wonder that I enjoy.

With my latest body of work, I have engaged in the challenge of applying two-dimensional non-objective compositions on the surfaces of my ceramic sculptures with the intent to make the designs seem integral to the forms. These sculptures are simplistic in shape so as not to compete with the surfaces. However, the curves allow the enveloping designs to expand and contract as the viewer’s vantage point changes while moving around the piece, enhancing the complexity and dynamism of the imagery. 

My designs are informed by the idea that the whole universe is one single continuum that reveals itself in a myriad of different ways. All of the different aspects of physical reality are an interconnected, kaleidoscopic expression of the universe, which is constantly morphing. Each of my compositions is like a manifestation of that interconnected reality. The shapes, spaces, twists and turns are a momentary glimpse of that energy in the midst of this kaleidoscopic dance. The components are like organs or machinery, fitted together in a harmonious and mysteriously meaningful way.


Ian Mabry is a ceramic artist whose sculptural work has ranged from figurative to non-objective.  He received his BFA in 2009 from Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft and his MFA from the University of North Dakota in 2015. Ian served for two years as Assistant Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Dickinson State University in North Dakota. He is currently back at the Appalachian Center for Craft as a Resident Artist and is exploring functional pottery along with his sculptural forms.