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Tony Marsh works intuitively, creating allegorical works that allude to the varied states of human experience. Tony Dubis Marino states, “Viewers expect statements; Marsh asks them questions. He is not a storyteller; he is a puzzlemaker. His images tend to be highly abstract, providing the viewer with minimum information to construct a relationship between the two objects. This minimalism pushes the viewer. In his most successful pieces the viewer is as much the author of the work’s narrative as the artist. Marsh’s images are so abstract that each individual viewer can construct a narrative as idiosyncratic as one’s own personality.”

Writer Jo Lauria has noted, “Marsh makes pots to carry meaning on the inside.” Frequent subjects in Marsh’s work include the relation of his personal experiences with creation, death, marriage and fertility. He often addresses dichotomous themes of physicality and the ethereal. George Melrod states, “Marsh’s vessels are laden in mystery and meaning. In form, his works are startlingly spare. Yet they are also deeply sensual. In style, Marsh avoids easy historical allusions, presenting work that is distinctly his own. Yet at its root, his work is highly traditional, presenting an almost reverent attitude toward the vessel, which he invariably presents as filled with, and offering, contents of his own creation. Beyond its many dichotomies, it is that abiding love and respect for the vessel itself that defines his work most eloquently.”

Tony Marsh earned a bachelor of fine arts in 1978 from California State University in Long Beach. He later traveled to Mashiko, Japan, to study at Shimaoka Pottery with Tatsuzo Shimaoka, whom Japan named a Living National Treasure in 1996. For three years, from 1978 to 1981, Marsh worked under the direction of Shimaoka as a worker, student, and apprentice. Marsh also worked with Shimaoka’s shokunin, or craftsmen, on a daily basis and was notably influenced by the traditional culture of the community.

From this experience he derived an intense respect for production potters. Tony Marsh states, “I am not really a potter although I admire them deeply in many ways. I understand pots as occupying what is for me a profound position between nature and culture. What I make is homage to my curiosity about the history of ceramic vessels and what they have always been called on to do: to preserve, to offer, to contain, to commemorate and to beautify.”

Marsh was director of the Mendocino Art Center ceramics program from 1983 to 1985, and then lectured at California State University in Long Beach. He earned a master of fine arts in 1988 from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. In 1989 Marsh accepted a teaching position at California State University in Long Beach and is currently the chair of ceramics, a tenured appointment.

Images of and analysis of his art has appeared in American Ceramics, American Craft, Artweek, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Contact Magazine, Kerameiki Techni, Korean Monthly Art Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and New Art Examiner. Marsh has also written and an article that discussed his experience at Shimaoka Pottery that was published in Studio Potter.


1988        New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, M.F.A.
1978-81    Assistant to Mr. Shimaoka in Mashiko, Japan
1978        California State University, Long Beach, B.F.A.

Museum Collections

Alfred University, Alfred, New York
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri
Downey Museum of Art, Downey, California
Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado
Foshan Museum of Contemporary Art, China
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto
Hong-Ik University, Seoul, Korea
JINRO Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, California
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Minneapolis Institute for the Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, California
Museum of Contemporary International Ceramic Art, Ichon, South Korea
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Napa Valley College, Napa, California
Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California
Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, California
Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California
Taipei Ceramics Museum, Taiwan
Takumi Folk Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Walnut Creek Art Center, Walnut Creek, California

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2009     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica
2008     Galerie Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels, Belgium
2007     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica
2005     Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
2004     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica
2002     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
2001     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica
2000     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1998     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica
1997     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1996     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
            Frank Lloyd Gallery, Los Angeles
1995     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1994     Winfield Gallery, Carmel, California
            Revolution Gallery, Detroit
            Toh Art Space Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1993     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles
            California Crafts Museum, San Francisco
1992     Swindler Gallery, Detroit
            Viewpoints Gallery, Carmel, California
1991     Swindler Gallery, Royal Oak, Michigan
1990     Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, California
1984     Water Series, Mendocino Art Center Gallery, Mendocino, California
            Kirk De Gooyer Gallery, Los Angeles
1983     Porcelain & Raku, Green Gallery, Carmel, California
1981     Takumi Gallery, Tokyo