Virgina A. Groot Foundation

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Jason Briggs
2007 3rd Place recipient

Lives and Works in Tennessee


Jason Briggs received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1995 and his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999.  After a summer at the Archie Bray Foundation, he spent 3 years serving as Artist in Residence at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville, TN.  Jason received a Graduate Teaching Award in 1999 and recently an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission.  He is in several public and private collections around the country and abroad, including the World Ceramic Center in Ichon, Korea, and the Ceramic Research Center in Tempe, AZ.  Since 1999 he has run the Ceramics department for Belmont University in Nashville, learning first-hand what it means to be adjunct labor. 

Jason and his wife Meagan Kieffer headed for the hills in 2003, where they bought 5 acres without neighbors.  Here, Jason and Meagan keep 2 horses, 4 goats, their studio, and all their marbles.  His work is influenced more by The Vodka than by The Scene. 

Artist Statement

Though my objects contain strong visual references, I am more interested in the implied tactile ones; the things that stir in me a compulsion to touch. Beyond other external inspiration lies this basic, primal impulse. I recognize – and act upon – a profound desire to push, poke, squeeze, stroke, caress, and pinch. I intend for my pieces to invoke a similar sort of temptation. Obvious sexual references, along with an extravagant, fetish-like attention to surface, can arouse a yearning to touch as powerful as the act itself. In this way a parallel can be drawn with pornography -- my first encounter with Playboy, for example. My emotional response, utter fascination, depended upon the compelling desire to touch flesh. The fact that I couldn’t was overcome by my imagined participation. When one views pornography, I would argue that one is thinking about touching — about how it would feel. I want my work to elicit a similar response: “What if I could touch it?”.I am searching for a fresh perspective. I strive to create an object I've never quite seen before – one whose inherent mystery and intrigue quietly insists upon viewer interaction. An object begging to be explored and examined in much the same way a child investigates the world: with wonder, curiosity, and also trepidation. It’s very important that the work be challenging. A sense of unease is critical because it encourages the viewer to consider carefully what they are seeing – at what is compelling them. I would like my work to exist not as the ubiquitous "art object", but as something more enigmatic - foreign yet familiar, handmade yet somehow organic. Rather than suggest nature, in my own way I am seeking to create it.



1999 Master of Fine Arts - Ceramics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, summa cum laude
1995 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Ceramics, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, cum laude


Adjunct Instructor: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Ceramics, Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Artist-in-Residence, Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts, Smithville, TN
Adjunct Instructor: Intermediate Handbuilding, Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts, Smithville, TN

Exhibitions (Juried)

Glimpse 2-person show, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN

Summer Invitational, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
XXX, Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM

Empire Builders, Zeitgeist/Ruby Green Galleries, Nashville, TN
Group Exhibition, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Biomimicry: The Art of Imitating Life (NCECA National Conference Invitational Exhibition)
Herron Gallery, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN

Art of Tennessee, Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
Autumn Arts Exhibition, Adams Gallery, Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN
Transforming the Body, Watkins College of Art and Design, Nashville, TN
33rd Annual Ceramics Exhibit: Karl Borgeson and Friends, Crossman Gallery,  University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Craft USA 2002, Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT, Holly Hotchner, Juror
The Art of Fine Craft, Nebraska Wesleyan University Elder Gallery, Lincoln, NE
Red Heat: Contemporary Work in Clay
University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, Richard Notkin, Juror
Masterworks 2002: Tennessee Master Artist, Madison Art Center, Madison, TN
San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX, Jimmy Clark, Juror Viewpoint: Ceramics 2002
Grossmont College Hyde Gallery, El Cajon, CA, David McFadden, Juror
1st World Ceramic Biennale International Competition, World Ceramics Center, Ichon, South Korea
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, Evansville, IN, Holly Hotchner, Juror
Crafts National 35, Zoller Gallery, Penn State University, David R. McFadden, Juror
Materials Hard and Soft, Center for Visual Arts, Denton, TX, Harlan W. Butt, Juror
Feats of Clay XIV, Lincoln Arts Center, Lincoln, CA, Paul A. McCoy, Juror
Viewpoint: Ceramics 2001, Grossmont College Hyde Gallery, El Cajon, CA, Jo Lauria, Juror2000
Emerging Artists of the U.S., Vermont Clay Studio, Waterbury Center, VT
Ceramics U.S.A 2000, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, Ellen Shankin, Juror
Small Works: Invitational 2000, Period Gallery, Omaha, NE
Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show
Lowell Street Gallery, Cambridge, MA, Carl Benz, Juror
Viewpoint: Ceramics 2000
Grossmont College Hyde Gallery   El Cajon, CA   Lloyd E. Herman, Juror
International Cone Box Show, Baker University, Baldwin City, KS, Nina Hole, Richard Notkin, Jeff Oestreich, Jurors


Guest Artist / Slide Lecture, Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin, TN
Guest Artist / Slide Lecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Salt/Soda Firing 1-week workshop
Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts Smithville, TN
Finishing Porcelain 1-week workshop (Summer)
Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts Smithville, TN
In Porcelain 1-week workshop
Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts Smithville, TN
Raku Firing 2-day Workshop
Tennessee Tech. University / Appalachian Center for Crafts Smithville, TN

Selected Honors and Awards

Individual Artist Fellowship   Tennessee Arts Commission
Best of Show   Autumn Arts Exhibition   Lisa Zagumny, Juror
Second Place   Red Heat: Contemporary Work in Clay   Richard Notkin, Juror
Ceramic Sculpture Award   Craft USA 2002   Holly Hotchner, Juror
Museum Guild Purchase Award   Evansville Museum of Arts and Science
Award of Merit   Feats of Clay XIV   Paul A. McCoy, Juror


Ceramic Research Center, Arizona State University   Tempe, AZ
Sandy Besser   Santa Fe, NM
Ichon World Ceramic Center   Ichon, South Korea
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science   Evansville, IN
Jim Kolva   Spokane, WA
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery   Lincoln, NE
Archie Bray Foundation Permanent Collection, Helena, MT
Helena Public Schools Fine Art Collection, Helena, MT

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