Ani Kasten


Kasten began her career in ceramics in 2000, apprenticing with British ceramist Rupert Spira. After a year in England gaining a foundation in functional studio pottery, Kasten traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, where she spent four years as head of a project for developing a stoneware ceramic facility for artisan potters in the village of Thimi, Nepal. Her training in England and her experiences in Nepal were a formative influence on Kasten’s ceramic sculpture and vessels, which draw on minimalist British studio ceramics, as well as hand-made antiquities created by indigenous peoples throughout Asia.

Her practice is driven primarily by an interest in exploring the materiality of clay. Using a combination of wheel throwing and hand building techniques she experiments with the interactions between different types of clay ranging from porcelain to locally sourced "wild" clay. Her pieces are the result of shrinkage, melting and bending and ultimately a study of the nature of change and evolution. Working primarily with the vessel form, her work maintains a direct relationship with pottery traditions of the past, while interrogating aesthetic expectations regarding symmetry, refinement, and beauty.

The works incorporate a variety of textures - ridged, pebbly, glossy smooth, and rough surfaces are combined to create intriguing forms. Each piece seems like it was dug out of an archaeological site, perhaps in shards that were then reassembled with wire and other found materials. Ani's aesthetic vocabulary is very much her own, and honors the inherent element of chance involved in making ceramics.

"In my process I seek the refined within the rough, the beauty in ugliness—forms imbued with extreme fragility, yet exhibiting inner strength, manifesting the contradictions and opposing forces we find in ourselves throughout the human experience." - Ani Kasten