Project Description

Jonathan Cross

b. 1980, Dallas, Texas

Jonathan Cross develops work from a place where his interests in geology and architecture intersect, resulting in abstract sculptural forms.  Form, mass, line, color, and surface are utilized to alter the viewer’s perception of these sculptures from various vantages.  Raw clay is hewn and assembled into shifting slabs that balance between heavy masses and thin slices, simultaneously occupying space.  During the firing stage the work is further altered as different patinas of wood or soda ash are slowly deposited on each piece, creating aged and natural colors across their surfaces.  Lines and shapes are also etched into the fired surface and serve to disrupt the visual balance of the work.  Ancient and modern aesthetics intermix across the planes of the work to create petroglyph-like markings with a minimal sensibility. Jonathan Cross’ interaction with clay creates a new context in which to experience the material.

Jonathan Cross received his Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Arizona State University, Herberger Institute for Design and Art in 2014.  He has taught ceramics and sculpture courses at Arizona State University and soda and wood firing at Mesa Arts Center.  He also had the fortune to assist renowned ceramic artist Don Reitz at his ranch in Cottonwood, Arizona.  His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the Southwest including Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Phoenix, AZ.
2014 Masters of Fine Arts – Ceramics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
2009-14 Post-Baccalaureate – Ceramics, University of Dallas, Irving, TX
2007-09 Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA
2003 Bachelor of Arts – Printmaking, University of Dallas, Irving, TX
1999-2000 Northlake College, Irving, TX

2014 Substantial Forms, Night Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2013 Origin, Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2013 Elemental, Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, TX
2011 Plane Forms, Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, TX
2011 Formation, Curated by Lucia Simek Bows and Arrows Gallery, Dallas, TX
2010 Jonathan Cross New Works, University of Dallas, Blakeley Annex, Irving, TX

2014 Materials: Hard and Soft, Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
2013 From the Ground Up XXVI, Las Cruces Art Museum, Las Cruces, NM
2013 Roaming with Abandon, Halt Gallery at Modified Arts, Phoenix, AZ
2013 From the Sidelines, Night Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2013 UD Clay, Earth/Energy, (traveling exhibition), Houston, TX, Wichita Falls, TX, and Irving, TX
2013 34th Annual Contemporary Crafts, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, AZ
2013 Juried National II, Juried by Dan Anderson, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, MT
2012 6th Annual Emerging Artist Show, CAMEO, Houston, TX
2012 Flash Point, International Wood-Fired Exhibition, Juried by John Balistreri, Denver, CO
2012 Rinse and Repeat, Braggs Pie Factory, Phoenix, AZ
2011 University of Dallas Regional Juried Ceramic Competition, Juried by Cynthia Bringle, Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery, Irving, TX
2011 Atmospheric Fired 2011, Juried by Lorna Meaden, Carbondale Clay Center, Carbondale, CO
2011 Wichita National All Media Craft Exhibition 2011, Juried by Chris Statley, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS
2011 Strictly Functional Pottery National 2011, Juried by Mary Barringer, Market House Craft Center, East Petersburg, PA
2011 New Graduate Exhibition, Harry Wood Gallery, Tempe, Az
2011 Unidentified Fired Object, Harry Wood Annex, Tempe, AZ
2010 INFLUX University of Dallas Ceramics, MOKAH Art Gallery, Dallas, TX

Octopian: Substantial Forms – The Works of Jonathan Cross
California Artist Johnathan Cross works between his home in Pasadena and his bustling studio in Twentynine Palms. Through laborious chiseling and carving processes, Cross’ work becomes a culmination of forms that feel both primitive and modern. 


Utilizing an ancient wood-firing technique, Jonathan Cross creates objects and vessels that suggest ancient geological forms reinterpreted for a modern world. 

Cross started his career as a printmaker for Gemini G.E.L., working with notable artists like Richard Serra, from whom he drew inspiration. Cross found his true calling in ceramics after he developed a passion in cultivating exotic cacti. He began to create one-of-a-kind clay containers to complement the austere beauty of his plants. Soon, his unique containers were collected as works of art, and his passion blossomed into a new career that has allowed him to fully explore his rare gift in 3-dimensional design and sculpture. 

“I like to say that my work is intuitive and not really preplanned,” Cross says. “In the studio my intuition is informed by my subconscious which I curate by the books I read, shows I watch and art that I appreciate. Drawing is another way that I think about my work.”
Cross gravitated to the ancient process of wood-firing, which gives each piece a patina that evokes ancient artifacts, old stone structures or discarded relics. His pieces evoke minimalism that draw on his interest in geology, science fiction and modern art. His sculptures combine a modern sensibility with a sense of textural materiality. Cross’ printmaking background is still evident in his pieces, which favor strong silhouettes and hard edge lines, leaving his works uncluttered and natural.  

Cross received his M.F.A. From Arizona State University and now lives in Pasadena, CA, where he divides his time between his studio and his kiln located in Twentynine Palms, CA. His work is in many private collections as well as the Las Cruces Museum of Art, New Mexico and the National Bonsai Museum in Washington, D.C.

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