Artist Statement

I utilize the traditional doll format of ceramic head, hands, and feet with a cloth body to create large-scale ceramic sculptures that employ found objects within the narrative. The mending of clothes and the construction of dwellings are two crafts handed down to me through my parents’ and grandparents’ way of life. Growing up in a very poor, rural environment, these crafts were required skills for the survival of my family and are integral to my identity. These hard and soft materials/methods have come to represent the traditionally feminine and masculine facets of my upbringing. The clay in my sculptures (a combination of both) has come to symbolize myself within this trifecta.

I use found objects associated with my rural culture to represent the various bits of influence and information that have shaped my outlook. The characters in my work often fail to understand the intended purpose of the objects with which they interact. I find this misuse analogous to how past information can be misinterpreted based on present need, a type of cognitive dissonance from which we all suffer. 

I feel the need to question how and why I think the way that I do. I cannot begin to understand or connect with the world around me until I understand the lenses through which I look. Incorporating materials and processes that I associate with the informative years of my life is the most effective way for me to question the cultural lenses given to me in those same years.



Current Position

Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Ceramics, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi


  • 2017-19 Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana

  • 2016 Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

  • 2015 Zhenrutang A.I.R., Jingdezhen, China


  • 2013-2016 M.F.A. Ceramics Candidate University of Kansas Lawrence, Kansas

  • 2010-2012 Post-Baccalaureate in Ceramics Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana

  • 1996-2001 Bachelor of Fine Arts University of Tennessee, Martin Martin, Tennessee

Selected Group and Solo Exhibitions                                                                       

  • 2019 Contemporary Ceramics, The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH – Upcoming 2020

  • 2019 June, Sager Braudis Gallery, Columbia, MO

  •  2019 Arrowmont Instructor Exhibit, Sandra J. Blain Gallery, Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, TN

  • 2019 Archie Bray Foundation Resident Exhibition, Warehouse Gallery, Helena, MT

  • 2019 Second Year Fellowship Exhibition, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

  • 2019 Resident Artist Exhibition, (NCECA 2018 Listed Exhibition), Creators Space, St. Paul, MN

  • 2019 Animals Among Us, Red Lodge Gallery, Red Lodge, MT

  • 2018 Current Profile, Craft Alliance Center for Art and Design, St. Louis, MO

  • 2018 Jingdezhen International Ceramic Fair, Jingdezhen International Ceramic Institution, Jingdezhen, China

  • 2018 Figurative Association: The Human Form Symposium, Sandra J. Blain Gallery, Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, TN

  • 2018 Raise a Glass - A Contemporary Response to Animal-Shaped Vessels of the Ancient World, Gallery 224, Harvard Office for the Arts, Allston, MA

  • 2018 Archie Bray First Year Fellowship Artist Exhibition, Bray Warehouse Gallery, Helena, MT

  • 2018 Archie Bray Resident Artist Exhibition, Bray Warehouse Gallery, Helena, MT

  • 2018 Permeant Residency, Cohen Gallery, Goggleworks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA

  • 2018 Found Again, Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, Pittsburg, PA

  • 2018 Ceramic Sculpture Culture: Unifying the Narrative Figure, David L. Lawrence, Pittsburgh, PA

  • 2018 Tall Tales, College of Southern Maryland - Tony Hungerford Memorial Gallery, La Plata, MD

  • 2018 The Persistence of the Residuum, Eutectic Gallery, Portland, OR

  • 2017 Archie Bray Resident Show, Kolva-Sullivan Gallery, Spokane, WA

  • 2017 Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics, Zanesville, OH

  • 2017 Ceramic Sculpture Culture, James May Gallery, Algoma, WI

  • 2017 Habitual, Roswell Clay, Atlanta, GA

  • 2017 Un//known, Sandra J. Blain Gallery, Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, TN

  • 2016 Ceramic Sculpture Culture, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD

  • 2016 okay., Wolpert Gallery, Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, TN

  • 2016 International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement Awards In Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Grounds for Sculpture Museum, Hamilton, NJ

  • 2016 The Arrowmont Experience, The Emporium, Knoxville, TN

  • 2016 Richard W. James Thesis Exhibition, KU Art and Design Gallery, Lawrence, KS

  • 2016 Generations, Filipino Cultural Center, Overland Park, KS

  • 2015 Intimate Object XI, Charlie Cummings Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL

  • 2015 2015 M.F.A. National Exhibition, First Street Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2015 The Seven Colors, Other Gallery, Jingdezhen, China

  • 2015 New China From China, Milano Art EXPO, Italy

  • 2014 Concordia Continental Ceramics Competition 5, Concordia Gallery, St. Paul, MN

  • 2014 2014 World Cup Tournament, Hyart Gallery, Madison, WI

  • 2014 Way of the Tea Bowl, Plenum Space Gallery, Kansas City, MO

  • 2013 Lets Talk About Love Baby, Sculpture X, Columbus, OH

  • 2013 Singularities, West Street Art Gallery (2-person, lecture), Madison, IN

  • 2013 Lets Talk About Love Baby, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, IN

  • 2012 Flash Point, Plinth Gallery, Denver, CO

  • 2011 In Lieu, Hanover College Greiner Art Gallery (2-person, lecture), Hanover, IN

  • 2011 Detritus, West Street Art Gallery (solo), Madison, IN

  • 2010 Our Own Backyard, Grenier Art Gallery, Hanover, IN

  • 2008 Untitled, Studio 310 (solo), Madison, IN


2019 James Renwick Alliance Chrysalis Award for Emerging Artist

2018 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist Award

2017 Zanesville Prize For Contemporary Ceramics Finalist 

2016  Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award,  Sculpture Magazine.                                                                         

2015  Finalist, 2015 National MFA Competition                                                                                 

2014  Best in Show, Concordia Continental Ceramics Competition 5, St. Paul, MN                        

2013  Clyde Bonebrake and Ward Lockwood Art Scholarship, The University of Kansas                     

2012  Honorable Mention, Flash Point International Wood Fire                                             

Publications as author

(upcoming) James, R.W. (2019) Crating Large Sculptures, Ceramics Monthly

James, R.W. (2017) The Work of Russell Wrankle, Ceramics: Art and Perception. #105, pp. 4-9.

James, R.W. (2017).  The Unifying Language of Clay in a Complicated World, Ceramics: Technical, #105, pp. 58-61

James, R.W. (2015).  He Said, She Said. Ceramics: Art and Perception, June.   

James, R.W. (2013).  Low firing with wood. Ceramics Monthly. June/July/August, pp. 58–62.

Publications as feature

(upcoming) Arbogast, E. (2019). Exposure, Ceramics Monthly.

Arbogast, E. (2019). Grounded, Ceramics Monthly. September, p. 57

Epp, C. (2019) Monday Morning Eye Candy. Musing About Mud, (

Arbogast, E. (2018). Emerging Artist, Ceramics Monthly. May, pp. 39.

Arbogast, E. (2018). Exposure, Ceramics Monthly. January, pp. 18.

Smith, A. (2017) The Unsettling Ceramic Sculptures of Richard W. James. Hi-Fructose Art Magazine, (

Ramos, O. (2017). Conversation with Richard W. James, Work Untitled. 2017 Q3.

Knapp, J. (2017). Exposure, Ceramics Monthly. March, pp. 20.

Hutchison, J. (2016). The International Sculpture Center 2016 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards, Sculpture. October, pp. 52.

Salamoni, A. (2014).  Wood-fired Ceramics: 100 Contemporary Artists, Schiffer Publishing:  Atglen, Pennsylvania.

Melnick, D. (2013). Pots and Protons: Richard James Ceramics, The Ryder Arts Magazine. May, pp. 22-24.

University Teaching Experience

2019        Assistant Professor of Art, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX

2019        Visiting Artist and Lecturer, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA

2018        Visiting Artist and Lecturer, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

2017        Visiting Artist and Lecturer, Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN                                          

2013-16   Instructor of Record, Ceramics I, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS                                 

2015        Guest Lecturer, Korean Ceramics History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS                        

2015        Visiting Artist and LecturerUniversity of Tennessee, Martin, TN

2015        Visiting Artist and Lecturer, Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS

2012        Adjunct Instructor, Ceramics I & 2, Hanover College, Hanover, IN                                                                                      

WOrkshop teaching

 2019       Workshop Instructor, Human Figure: Heads, Hands, and Feet, The Archie Bray Foundation for the Arts, Helena, MT 

2019        Workshop Instructor, The Figure DissectedTwo-Week Workshop, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN

2018        Presenting Artist/Workshop Instructor, Figurative Association: The Human Form Symposium, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN   

2018        Class Instructor, Mug Shot: Combining Faces with Pots, Archie Bray Foundation for the Arts, Helena, MT                                                

2018        Class Instructor, Advanced Throwing, Archie Bray Foundation for the Arts, Helena, MT 

2017        Class Instructor, Anatomy of the Head, Archie Bray Foundation for the Arts, Helena, MT

2017        Class Instructor, Anatomy of the Head, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN                                          

2017        Workshop Instructor, Bust Basics, Arts Center West, Roswell, GA                                                                

2015        Workshop Instructor, Figurative Basics, Brackers Good Earth Clays, Lawrence, KS

Permanent Collections             

Homunculus, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

Mannerisms and Proclivities #1, Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramics Arts

Bank Bag Doll #1, Kolva-Sullivan Collection, Spokane, WA

The House the Bill Built, ceramic and wood sculpture, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Permanent Collection, Gatlinburg, TN

Punch and Judy, mixed media sculpture, Porter-Price Collection, Columbia, SC

Inside Study # 3, porcelain sculpture, Zhenrutang Permanent Collection, Jingdezhen, China

The Horn Blower, mixed media sculpture, Martha Vida Collection, The Marks Project Permanent Collection, RI