Ronald Fondaw

Making Art for me is the way I learn about the world and my place in it. Ceramics is the best mediums for this investigation because it uses elements, actions, processes and forces that are all part of the natural world, i.e. heating, melting, crystallizing, and cooling, with material taken from the Earth itself.


Drawing, because it is the process that most closely reflects the thinking process (consciousness). As I work with these fundamental elements, energies and forces I approach the unknown. I am searching for truth through Art making that are forever fleeting and fragile. I want my work to embody the search in a visually compelling manner.

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi has a strong influence on my esthetic, as well as Hegel’s idea that Art is the search for truth.  For me art is the encounter of the mind with materials. My goal is to follow my highest excitement in any moment.

 The artworks resulting from this encounter remain as subjects of contemplation and understanding .

Ron began his career painting, and produced his first one person show in his hometown of Paducah, KY when he was eleven.  He received a BFA in ceramics from the Memphis College of Art and gained his MFA from the Univ. of Illinois in 1979. He then moved to take a teaching position in Miami, Florida in where he honed his sense of color and completed his first Public Art Commission. That number is now over forty. Ron works across the field of art using various media and approaches.  Drawing plays an important part in Ron’s sculpture from the large scale ephemeral adobe works to the one of a kind cast metal drawings.


Currently a Professor of Art at Washington University,  in St. Louis Mo., Ron has also taught at Chapel Hill, NC. The University of Miami, FL and Ohio Univ. Athens, OH.  Ron has worked in Denmark, Japan and Italy. He will travel to China for a second time in May to work as an artist in residence, this time in the city of Nanjing, collaborating with two Chinese artist to create an exhibition at the Nanjing Museum of Art.


 Ron Fondaw has received numerous distinctions including a Guggenheim award for sculpture, a Nation Endowment for the Arts and a Pollack/Kransner award. His works can be seen in several major collections around the world.




1978                        MFA, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

1976                        BFA, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, Tennessee



2011                        faculty,co-teaching a masters class “Ackert walkway a Public Art Plan” Univ. City, Mo. Under a grant from HUD

2011                        HRT administration and bus maintenance building, Norfolk, Va.  Fianlist

2010                        South Grand Street renovation, City of St. Louis, MO  Finalist

2001                            Part of Design Team of HNTB Architecture & Engineers, Short Listed to Redesign 8th Street, Columbia, MO

1998                            Part of Design team with Austin Tao Landscape Archt. For Metro Station at Forest Park, St Louis, MO 

1995-date                                Professor of Art, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

1994                        Visiting Professor of Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

1979-94                   Professor of Art, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

1978                        Visiting Instructor of Art, Ohio University, Athens, OH



2013                        Artist in Residence, Fuping China, The Ceramic Art Village

2008                          “Gephardt Institute” Grant for service based teaching

1998                        “Kransberg Award” - St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO

1996/97                   Pollock - Krasner Award

1992                        Florida Arts Council Fellowship

1990                        New Art Forms, Florida

1989                        Awards in the Visual Arts 8

                                Fulbright Fellowship (India), declined

1988                        National Endowment for the Arts

1985                        Guggenheim Fellowship, Sculpture

1981                        Florida Arts Council Fellowship

1977                        Ford Foundation Fellowship




2015                        “Symbiosis” A one person exhibition at the Kansas City Artist Coalition, KC

2015                        “Drawing Discourse” The Annual Juried drawing  National, The Gallery at Univ. of North Carolina, Asheville

2014                        “Reflexive” A one person exhibition at The Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY

2014                        “Collide of Particles” a one person show of paintings, The Durham Arts Council, NC

2013                        “Back to The Real” 5 American Artist  at The DAO Gallery, Xian China

2013                        “Shifting Ground” a two person exhibition @ The Regional Art Commission Gallery, St. Louis

2012                        “Drawing In Between” solo exhibition @ The good Citizen Gallery, St. Louis, Mo

2011                        “Death & Rebirth” Invitation, Maryville University, St. Louis, Mo

2010                        “Material Use” an invitational exhibition at The Univ. of North Carolina, Asheville, NC

2009                            “Drawing on The In-between” Solo exhibition,  Perkinson Gallery, Millikin Univ. Decatur, IL

2007                            “Earth & Fire” Group exhibition , Boileau Gallery, St.Louis Univ. St. Louis, MO

2006                             “Translucent” contemporary glass sculpture,Curated by Ron Fondaw as part of Annual GAS Conference

                           “A Mater of Scale”Outdoor sculpture,School of medicine, Washington Univ.St. Louis. Curated by Int. Art/Artist

2005                            “ Poetic Process” Invitational,The regional arts commission gallery,St.Louis,Mo

2005                            “Drawings and Models for Public Works” One Person show at The Schmidt Art Center, Bellville, IL

2005                            “Material Attraction” Invitational ,The Jacoby art Center, Alton, IL

2004                        “Ron Fondaw & Nine Hole”,  Two large scale adobe installations,  Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN

2003                        “Artist in  Permanent Collection”, 30th Anniversary, Mitchell Museum of Art, Mt. Vernon, IL

2002                        “The Future Is Right Now” Invitational, Six Artist, Ispace gallery, Chicago, IL

                                “Ron Fondaw”, Solo Exhibition, Kansas city Artist Coalition, Kansas City, MO

                                Sculptural Clay, Invitational, Daum Museum, Sadailia, MO

2001                        “Archeology”, Solo Exhibition, Gallery 210, St. Louis, MO

2000                        “U.G.A. Cortona Faculty”, Palazzo Vagnotti, Cortona Italy

1999                        “Ron Fondaw” Elliot Smith Contemporary Art, St. Louis, MO

1998                        “Ceramics in Public Spaces”, The Ceramic Museum of Taipei Cultural Center, Taiwan

                                “St. Louis”, The City Series, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA

1998                        “Ron Fondaw” One Person Show, The Goddard Gallery, Sadialia, MO

1997                        "Ron Fondaw/Mappings in Clay and Metal", One Person Show, Eliott Smith Gallery, St. Louis, MO

1996                        "Ron Fondaw" One Person Show, Florida Community College, Jacksonville, FL.

1995                        "Fusion", Solo Exhibition of Large Scale Ceramic and Iron Sculpture, The ClaytStudio,Philadelphia

1994                        "A Mix of Media", Four Artist Show, City Hall Gallery, Orlando, FL

1993                        "Florida Fellows", Traveling Exhibition beginning at Center of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL

1992                        "In the Tradition", Group Show, Anita Shapolski Gallery, New York, NY

1991                        "Five by Invitation", The Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL

                                "Clay Today", Museum Mensinghe, Roden, Holland

                      "Florida Selects", Group Show, George Bolge Curator, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdal

1990                        Ron Fondaw,Solo Show, Drawing The National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C       

1989                        Ron Fondaw: Jane Sablow, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY

                      Awards in the Visual Arts 8 (AVA), Traveling Exhibition beginning at The High Museum, GA.

1989                        "Art as Architecture", Group Show, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY - traveled to Kingsborough College, Long  Island, NY

1986                        Material as Metaphor: Group Show of Clay Sculpture, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL

1985                        Ceramics International, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, Republic of China

                                Contemporary American Ceramics, Twenty Artists, Newport Harbor art Museum, California

1983                        Clay for the Walls, Group Show, Renwick Gallery, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian, Washington, DC.











                                “Fondaw Sounds Wake-Up Call” Hallie Smith, The Kansas City Star, Jan. 7, 2015

                                “Think Global” Liz Cook, The Kansas City Pitch  Jan. 8, 2015

                                   “Sculpture on the Edge” Paula Harper, Art in America, Dec.2006

                                   Studio Potter, Dec 2005 “Large Scale clay of Ron Fondaw

                                  “Contemporary Ceramics”, Susan Peterson, Watson Guptill, 2001

                                  “Weathering Change”, Julie Stevenson, Sculpture Magazine, September 2000, Vol. 19 no.7

                                  “Art and Craft of Clay”, Susan Peterson, 3rd Edition. Printice Hall, 2000

                                  “Ron Fondaw”, Robin Rice, Ceramic Monthly, March ‘97

                                  "Urban Art of 50 Cities in USA", Shoichiro Higuch, Tokyo Press, 1990

                                  "AVA 8", Jane Adams Allen, Exhibition Catalog, April 1989

                                 "Sculpture Tests Its Muscles", New York Times, Michael Brenson, September 6, 1987

                                 "Bayou Show, Pamela Lewis, The Houston Post, March 23, 1985

                                  "Staring and Shivering", Helen Kohen, Art in America, Summer 1983





2010                            “Given, A Device for Seeing” Sculpture Key West, Curated by, Lilly Wei (temporaray)

2010                            “Wheel Within a Wheel” Kirkland Art Center, Decatur, IL   (temporaray)

2009                            “Moving Ahead” Greensboro,NC , Permanent

2006                            “ Impressions in Light and Dark” Bradley Univ. Peoria, IL

                            “Prspective is Everything” Sculpture Key West, Fl

2006                              “The Bison Gates” Site specific adobe gates, South west IL College,Bellvell, IL

2005                             “ Ion” Outdoor sculpture, earth cast concrete,Union Univ. Jackson,TN (temporary)

2003                        “The Vertical Loop”,  The Pageant Theater, Arts in Transit, St. Louis, MO (permanent)

2001                        “The Langlois Bridge Full Circle”’ Henry Lay Sculpture Park, Louisiana, MO

2000                        “Myth of Permanence”, commissioned by NCECA, Denver, CO (temporary) 

1999                        “Who We Are”, at the Forest Park Metro-Rail Station, St. Louis, MO

1999                        “Rolling Along”. Ceramic Mural, commissioned by the City of Columbia, MO

1998                        “Whispering Walls”, Site Specific Adobe, The Cedarhurst Sculpture Park, Mt. Vernon, IL

1998                        “The Giving Tree”, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

1995                        “Nyflot”, Adobe Installation, Steinberg Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO

1994                        "Cyclones Edge", Ceramic Mural for the City of Orlando, FL

1994                        "Tapiola", site specific adobe installation, Watershed Center, Edgecomb, ME

1994                        "3 Miles High", commission by Broward County, FL, ceramic tile

1993                        Art in Public Places, State of Florida, Plaza, Department of Natural Resources, Marathon, FL

1992                        "Ferros Dream", State of Florida, 2 murals at the main entrance of Florida International University, South Campus, Miami,   FL

1991                        "Round and Round Again", Center of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL

1989                          "Now and Never", Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY

1988                        "Earth Structures", Outdoor Sculpture, East Hampton Center for Contemporary Art, East

                        Hampton, New York

1987                        "Taukka", Artpark, Project Artist, Lewiston, NY

                                “Sea of Divide”/10 paintings for the Medical Library, Miami, FL

1985                        "Tymon", Bayou Show Outdoor Sculpture, Houston Festival, Houston, TX

1981                        Set Design:  Oedipus Rex, Players State Theater, Coconut Grove, FL




                                   Fule International Ceramic Art Museum North American, Fuping , China

                                   Renwick Gallery, National Collection of Fine Art, The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

                                   Little Rock Arts Center, Arkansas

                                   Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, Tennessee

                                   The Mitchell Museum of Art, Mt. Vernon, Illinois

                                   American Express, Jacksonville, Florida

                                   IBM Corporation, Communications Center, Raleigh, North Carolina

                                   The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida

                                   Columbus Museum of Fine art, Columbus, Ohio

                                   Martin Z. Margulies, Grove Isle, Florida

                                   Sun Bank, Orlando, Florida

                                TIAA-CREF Corporate Headquaters, St. Louis, MO

                                   The Center for Contemporary art, Vero Beach, FL