Death and Taxes: Zach Tate at SBMA

Author: Olivia Williamson

For over 25,000 years, the human figure has been represented in ceramics. It is an inherently vital form and ideally suited for directly expressing the human condition. It is also what lies at the intersection of the work of artists Tom Bartel (Athens, OH) and Zach Tate (Goshen, IN). Whether exploring the various stages of life or subverting those in power, the figures they create ask us all to reflect on life’s certainties.

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
— Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

Tom Bartel (b. 1969, Cleveland, OH) is known for his fragmented figures that take cues from a “shotgun blast” of influences ranging from antiquity to current popular culture. He received his M.F.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington. He has lectured, conducted workshops and exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. His work is included in numerous public and private collections, and has numerous publications to his credit, including American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, Ceramics Art and Perception as well as many other periodicals and books. Bartel is currently the Ceramics Area Chairperson and is an Associate Professor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Zach Tate (b. 1985, Springfield, MO) is a figurative sculptor and works at the University of Notre Dame as a visiting lecturer for the Ceramics Department and as the executive director of Goshen Youth Arts (a non-profit organization in Goshen, IN). He moved to northern Indiana in 2013 after finishing his M.F.A. from Texas Tech University. His work has been exhibited internationally, nationally and regionally. Along with exhibiting his work, he has been a visiting artist at several Universities and art centers around the world and works as an author for several ceramics publications. His writings cover experiences he has had organizing events, travelogues and exhibition reviews.

For more information on this exhibition and the South Bend Museum of Art, follow the link here.