Spotlight on Tom Lauerman

Last week, the Ceramics Department @ SMU brought in 3 former students (from 10 years ago) to make a presentation about their current development. I have given an intro to all three artists on my personal blog , but would like to spotlight one here in more detail.
Tom Lauerman graduated from SMU in 1996 and was one of the Founders of the Shamrock Hotel, which is still a Dallas working space for artists to this day. He currently lives in Chicago and is adjunct faculty at the SAIC.  He told me that he does not have official gallery representation yet, so galleries, if you are reading … ahem. Here are some great Flickr sets of his work and studio situation.
Tom’s work grows out of ceramic history, architectural modularity and experimentation with materials. Below (left) is an early project completed in Dallas where Tom used simple funnels to create a cascading drainpipe for rainwater.  This very early combination of ceramic form & architecture turned out to be a driving force for much of his studio practice.

Above (right) is a 30 ft site-specific installation where he recreated a fire escape out of wood, plastic, glue, etc.  In his talk, he mentioned how fascinating it was to re-make this ominous form and how it unexpectedly turned into a “delicate lace-like” structure.

Here is another project (unfinished) where he is exploring his fascination with lattice structures.  The motivation for this came from seeing a Cathedral under construction, where it was completely enveloped with scaffolding and disappeared into something cloud-like.
His early explorations also include this collaboration, digging a 6ft funnel into a field of clay. A beautiful surprise came later from the changing effects of the weather.

This funnel shape continued to emerge with his ongoing retrieval of ceramic and architectural forms.  He often goes out scavenging for items, draws them and comes back into the studio to make them, resulting in a growing vocabulary of form.
Tom continues to work with ceramic materials as well as high-tech CAD programs. Having a foot in both worlds of high & low tech, he continues to explore how these two ways of working can enhance each other for their mutual deepening.

also by Chris Jagers

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4 responses to “Spotlight on Tom Lauerman”

  1. Nice work…but I’d like to comment that the fire escape appears to be more like ten feet tall. I’m gauging it against the floorboards and baseboard. Am I wrong?

  2. yes, I think it is not as big as stated. More like ten or twelve feet high.

  3. In his talk he said the wall “was like 30ft” but he meant that it was really tall (more than normal). 15ft looks about right to me, but don’t know for sure. Check out his website for lots of other good work: tomlauerman.com

  4. Greetings,
    I mentioned in the talk that I wanted to engage the tall room in which the piece was exhibited. The room was 30 feet from floor to ceiling, the fire escape itself is in the neighborhood of 14 feet tall. The wall in the image is roughly ten or eleven feet tall – the piece extends past the wall. If exhibited in Texas of course it’d have to be enlarged to fit the context.

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