Brian Harper, Executive Director
Brian Harper is the founder of Artaxis and currently serves as the Executive Director. In addition to his role with Artaxis, he is also a practicing artist and an Associate Professor of Fine Art and Ceramics Area Head at Indiana University Southeast. He holds a BFA from Northern Arizona University and an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. His artwork investigates our inherent human wonderment of the unknown and the methods, mythological or otherwise, for how we give structure to elements of our observed, unobserved, and unobservable world. His work has been exhibited in over 100 national and international exhibitions, including 8 solo exhibitions. He lives in New Albany, Indiana, with his wife Tiffany, their daughter June and their dog, Oliver.
Renata Cassiano Alvarez, International Co-Coordinator
Renata Cassiano Alvarez is a Mexican-Italian artist and interpreter born in Mexico City and currently the Visiting Assistant Professor in ceramics at the University of Arkansas School of Art. Cassiano Alvarez works predominantly in the medium of clay, in a search for developing an intimate collaborative relationship with material and material language. Influenced by archeology and history, she is interested in the power of the object as survival – objects with a sense of permanence and timelessness, and language as transformation, and how this translates into material. Educated in Mexico, Italy, Denmark and the US, she has had the opportunity to work in different artistic environments, a cross-cultural and multimedia experience which has led to the belief that craft is an evolving field and something that exists in motion.
Dina Perlasca, Communications and Members Liaison
Dina Perlasca is a Mexican-American artist from The Paso del Norte Region, where she grew up on the Border of Mexico and the U.S. in El Paso TX, and Cd. Juarez Mexico. Dina lives in El Paso Texas with her 3 children. She obtained her BFA in Ceramics from The University of Texas at El Paso and her MFA at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces NM. She is currently teaching undergraduate ceramics at The University of Texas at El Paso and at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. Fostering community, research, and collaboration are of utmost importance to Dina as she has dedicated time, leadership, and support to the ceramic field in various ways.
Didem Mert, Secretary
Didem Mert received her BFA (ceramics) from Northern Kentucky University in 2014 and her MFA (ceramics) from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2017. Mert has exhibited nationally in places such as Lillstreet Gallery, Companion Gallery, Charlie Cummings Gallery, AKAR, and over forty other venues. Her work was published in Ceramics Monthly’s 2014 Undergraduate Showcase. She was featured on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated’s January/February 2016 issue. Mert was included in CFile’s list of 15 Potters to Watch in 2016 and in Architectural Digest’s 10 Ceramic Artists Giving Pottery A Modern Update. Didem is currently a studio artist living in Cincinnati, OH.
Japheth Asiedu Kwarteng, Fellowship Coordinator
Japheth Asiedu Kwarteng holds a BA in Industrial Art (Ceramics) from KNUST, Ghana, and an MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. Japheth works primarily in ceramics to make contemporary work that transcends form and questions the relationship between tradition and modernity, cultural exchange, and tension. In addition to Artaxis, he is a member of NCECA and the International Academy of Ceramics.
Natasha Hovey, Vice-President
Natasha Hovey was born and raised in New Hampton, Iowa. In 2011 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Iowa and in 2014 she received her Master of Fine Arts at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hovey has exhibited work at Sundaymorning @ EKWC/ European Ceramic Workcentre in the Netherlands, Glassell School of Art within The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas and the MANA Contemporary in Chicago, IL. Hovey was a NCECA Project Residency Artist at the European Work Center in the Netherlands during the summer of 2014 and an Artist-in-Residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Midwestern State University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at The University of Central Missouri.
Kwok Pong “Bobby” Tso, Treasurer
Kwok Pong ‘s work focuses on investigates the spatial relationship between the development of objects and human interaction. Pong originally was born and raised in Hong Kong, and decided to come to the USA to continuing his education while begin exploring the cultures differences. In 2009 he completed his BFA from Northwest Missouri State University, and completed his M.A and MFA from the University of Iowa in 2013. Pong is currently an Assistant Professor at Northwest Missouri State University, he was named as Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist in 2014, and NCECA Emerging Artist in 2016, He spend two summer as summer resident at the Archie Bray Foundation, he has exhibited and published internationally and nationally including in China, Rep.of Korea, Romania, Germany and United Kingdom.
Casey Whittier, President
Casey Whittier received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her work investigates the fine line between the need to preserve and a desire to re-imagine, re-configure and re-contextualize the world around her. Utilizing a variety of forming methods and clay bodies, Whittier recreates elements from nature, unites the landscapes of her reality with the landscapes of daydreams, exploits the visceral qualities of clay, and ponders the power of shared experience. The physical impressions that come through rolling, tearing, squishing, dipping, pushing, pinching, molding, casting, and scratching become representations of touch, of thought, of time spent. Whittier is an advocate for community engagement through the arts. She teaches ceramics and social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute and works from her home studio.
Jenchi Wu, International Co-Coordinator
Jenchi Wu was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to California in 1990 to continue her studies. She took her first ceramics class in 1994, received her MFA from California State University Los Angeles in 2005, and has been working with clay ever since. Exploring clay through repetition and deconstruction, Wu’s process allows the clay to take on new forms – the relationship between the artist’s hands and the artwork is in constant flux. Wu has exhibited work at Guilin Tourism University, Guangxi, China; American Museum of Ceramic Art; Atkinson Gallery; and Ink & Clay, Kellogg University Art Gallery. Her work is currently exhibited at Westmount College as part of their permanent collection. Wu currently teaches ceramics and sculpture at Ventura College.