Kirk Mangus (1952-2013) was an internationally recognized ceramicist, and a dedicated teacher and mentor for almost 30 years at Kent State University. His prolific output of ceramics and drawings drew on a multitude of influences, from comics to prehistoric animal figures, modernist abstraction, Japanese woodblock prints, and folk, Meso-American, and Asian and ceramic traditions. Kirk Mangus: Things Love is the artist’s first comprehensive museum survey. The exhibition explores the breadth of his practice, philosophy of making, and influence in the region and beyond. It includes a broad range of works, from smaller ceramics such as cups and mugs, to vases and vessels, and larger pots and sculptures. A selection of his drawings and sketchbooks are also included, showing his manner of processing the world as well as envisioning pieces in clay.
Mangus is known for his playful, gestural style, roughhewn forms, and experimental glazing. A graphic sensibility, heavily incised surfaces, as well as custom stamping and applied decoration, give the pieces a bustling physical presence, while signature motifs including animals, plants, and bodies, team with life. In his approach to craftsmanship, Mangus sought to re-negotiate concepts of beauty and mastery, proposing an unguarded, impassioned way of thinking, making, living, and loving.
Kirk Mangus (1952, Sharon, PA–2013, Kent, OH) received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Washington State University, Pullman. Mangus was the Head of Ceramics at Kent State University from 1985-2013, and also taught at Alfred University Summer School, Cleveland Institute of Art, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. He lectured widely in China, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, Finland, Lithuania, Canada, and throughout the United States. Mangus’s work is held in numerous collections, including at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Finnish Craft Museum, Helsinki; Inchon World Ceramics Center, Suwon, Korea; and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea.