Piero Fenci received his undergraduate degree in Latin-American Studies with a minor in Art History from Yale University, and he earned his M.F.A. from the prestigious New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Professor Fenci has been with SFA since 1975 and has distinguished himself as both an artist and educator. His ceramic vessels have been featured in magazines and books such as Ceramics Monthly, American Ceramics, The Contemporary Potter, and Clay and Glazes for the Potter.

In 2004 he founded the first university program in contemporary ceramic art in the history of northern Mexico at la Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua in Chihuahua City, and continues to travel there yearly as a visiting professor in the School of Fine Arts to mentor the program. Professor Fenci has earned an international reputation as a ceramist, exhibiting his work from coast to coast, and in Italy, Russia, and Mexico, and he was recently named “Texas Master” by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the fourth person (and the first ceramist) in the state to be honored with that award.

Fenci lives and shares a studio with his sculptor wife, Elizabeth Akamatsu, in the small town of Appleby, 10 miles north of Nacogdoches. His work is represented in many private and public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Scheiner-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, NY, and in the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

Born 1944 Santa Barbara, CA

Education

1973 – 1975
MFA, The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY

1970 – 1972
Post Graduate Studies in Studio Art, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

1962 – 1966
BA in Latin-American Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Select Solo Exhibitions

2013
Battlement, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX

2012
Texas Master Series: Piero Fenci – Battlement, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX

2010
La Cerca/The Fence, Museo Casa Chihuahua Centro del Patrimonio Cultural, Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, MX

2007
Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, TX

2003
Goldesberry Gallery, Houston, TX

2002
South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2000
Brookhaven College Center of the Arts, Dallas, TX

1997
Moody Gallery, Houston, TX

1996
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA
Art Museum of East Texas, Lufkin, TX

1995
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1994
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1993
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1992
Midwestern State University Gallery, Wichita Falls, TX
Galveston Art Center, Galveston, TX
Moody Gallery, Houston, TX
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1990
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1988
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1987
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1986
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1985
Mattingly Baker Gallery, Dallas, TX (collaboration with Mary McCleary)

1984
Watson de Nagy Gallery, Houston, TX (collaboration with Mary McCleary)

1980
Kauffman Galleries, Houston, TX

1979
Lee’s Circle Gallery, New Orleans, LA

1978
Front Room Gallery, Dallas, TX

1977
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1976
Longview Museum, Longview, TX

1975
Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

Select Group Exhibitions

2015
Coming Home Celebration: a Gala Event, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX, curated by Clint Willour
Chaos!!!, Ro2 Art, Dallas, TX
Salon Style, Ro2 Art, Dallas, TX
Dallas Art Fair, exhibited by Ro2 Art, Fashion Industry Gallery, Dallas, TX
University of Dallas Regional Ceramic Exhibition, Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery, University of Dallas at Irving, Irving, TX, juried by Eva Kwong

2014
Chaos, Ro2, Dallas, TX
Dallas Art Fair, exhibited by Ro2 Art, Fashion Industry Gallery, Dallas, TX
Objectified, Ro2 Art, Dallas, TX
CAMEO – Emerging Artists and Their Mentors, Dishman Art Museum, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Susan Lister Locke Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2013
From Yellow Clay to Black Gumbo: Earth Movers in the Lone Star State, Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX and the National Council for the Education of the Ceramic Arts Conference, Houston, TX
Texas Art Now, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth, TX, curated by Susan Roth Romans
Chaos!!, Ro2 Art, Dallas, TX

2012
Breathe and Believe International Art Exhibition, Castello Normanno Svevo, Sannicandro de Bari, Italy

2011
Growing Paradise, collaboration with Elizabeth Akamatsu, illustrations of poems written by Ann Filemyr (limited edition handmade letterpress book printed by the LaNana Creek Press), Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM
Ro2 Art Uptown Opening Group Show, Featuring Elizabeth Akamatsu, Piero Fenci, and Michael Francis, Ro2 Gallery, Dallas, TX

2010
CraftTexas 2010, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX, curated by Gail M. Brown
Edge of Life: Forest Pathology Art, Cole Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX, and North Texas State University Gallery, Denton, TX
New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX
New Visions in Vitrified Clay, 2010 Texas Tech Ceramics Symposium, Lubbock, TX
Celebrating Ten Years, 2000 to 2010, M. T. Burton Gallery, Surf City, NJ

2009
Message from Texas: Breaking the Stereotype, The White Gallery of the Pedagogical Institute of Ufa, Russia; The State Museum of Nizhny Tagil, Russia; and The State Museum of Novosibirsk, Russia
Val Cushing, Piero Fenci, Robin Hopper, and Angelica Pozo, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

2008
Erudite Lunacy, National Council on the Education of the
Ceramic Arts Conference, Pittsburg, PA, curated by Anthony Merino
Watershed Artists-Invite-Artists Exhibition, the Stable Gallery, Daramascotta, ME, curated by Virginia Scotchie

2006
Spirited Fusion:  Akamatsu and Fenci, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX
Earthenware, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Between Form and Function, Baltimore Clay Works Gallery, Baltimore, MD, curated by Virginia Scotchie

2005
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA (also in 2003 and 2002)
State of Texas – Clay, University of San Antonio Art Gallery, San Antonio, TX

2004
The Big Show, Gallery One, Indianapolis, IN
Houston Area Ceramics Educators, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX
Five Texas Ceramists, Southwestern University Gallery, Georgetown, TX

2004
Texas Clay, Beeville Museum, Beeville, TX

2003
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

2002
Texas Mud, The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, Dallas, TX, curated by Joan Davidow
Great Clay, Goldesberry Gallery, Houston, TX

2002
Raku, The Jayne Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2001
Hands in Clay, Meadows Gallery, University of Texas, Tyler, TX, curated by Gary Hatcher
Made in Texas, New Braunfels Museum of Art, New Braunfels, TX, curated by Ron Boling
The Box, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, TX

2000
National Ceramics Invitational 2000, University Gallery, Texas A&M University, Commerce, TX, curated by Barbara Frey
Miniatures, Hooks-Epstein Gallery, Houston, TX

1999
Deliberations in Clay, Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art, Dallas, TX
Piero Fenci and Elizabeth Akamatsu, Transco Gallery, Houston, TX, curated by Sally Sprout

1998
Clay Traditions: Texas Ceramic Educators and Their Teachers, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, curated by Lee Aikins
Deep in the Clay of Texas:  Clay Works by Texas Artists, The Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, curated by Gary Hatcher

1998
Fireworks; On and Off the Wall, Dallas Visual Art Center, Dallas, TX, curated by Michel Conroy and Patricia Meadows
Within the Borders:  A Survey of Contemporary Texas Potters, Meadows Gallery, University of Texas at Tyler, and Bank One, Fort Worth, TX, curated by Peter Beasecker, Mark Epstein, Daphne Hatcher and Gary Hatcher
Clay Under the X (Seven Contemporary Texas Artists), Arlington Museum of Art, Arlington, TX, curated by Mark Epstein
To Have and to Hold:  Ceramic Vessel-Making by Texas Artists, Irving Arts Center, Irving, TX, curated by Marcie Inman

1997
Three Texas Ceramists, Haggar Gallery, University of Dallas, Irving, TX, curated by Dan Hammett
Texas Clay Invitational, University of Texas at El Paso Art Gallery, El Paso, TX, curated by Mark Alexander
Uniqueness From the Hand, University of Texas at San Antonio Art Gallery, San Antonio, TX, curated by Ron Boling

1993
Closures, Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA, in conjunction with Northwest Clay Symposium, curated by Steve Reynolds
Texas Clay II, University Art Gallery, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

1992
Texas Clay, Joan Farrell Collection, Washington, DC
Present Clay Presence/Informed by the Past, North Texas State University Gallery, Denton, TX,  curated by Diana R. Block
Contemporary Artifacts, Transco Gallery, Houston, TX, curated by Sally Sprout
New Art Forms, International Exposition, Chicago, IL
Piero Fenci, Carolyn Dahl, Craftwork Gallery, Houston, TX

1990
Regional Clay and Fiber, Longview Museum, Longview, TX

1988
Voices of the Southwest, USA, The Museum Monastery Ter Apel, The Netherlands

1988
The Art of Fiber and Clay, Jewish Community Center, Houston, TX

1985
Inaugural Show, The Farmhouse Gallery/Lew Dolan, Inc., East Hampton, NY (collaboration with Mary McCleary)
Texas Visions, Art League of Houston, Transco Tower, Houston, TX

1985
Fifth Texas Sculpture Symposium Invitational Exhibition, Dallas, TX
Texas Visions, Art League of Houston, Transco Tower Gallery, Houston, TX
Texas Symposium Exhibition, Dallas, TX
Collaborations/Transpositions, San Antonio Art Institute, San Antonio, TX (collaboration with Mary McCleary)
Summer Show, Watson/de Nagy Gallery, Houston, TX (collaboration with Mary McCleary)

1984
Inaugural Exhibition, Dorothy Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Clay: 1984, A National Survey Exhibition, Traver Sutton Gallery, Seattle, WA

1983
Three Person Show, Objects Gallery, San Antonio, TX
National Ceramics Survey, Objects Gallery, San Antonio, TX
Vessels in Clay, Meyer Breier Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Texas Clay, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX and The University of Texas at San Antonio, TX
Fourth Texas Sculpture Symposium Invitational Exhibition, Austin, TX

1982
Advisors Show – Diverse Works, Inc., Texas Commerce Bank Towers Gallery, Houston, TX
Four Texas Artists, Kauffman Galleries, Houston, TX
National Competitive Show, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX, First Place, juried by Val Cushing
Invitational ’82, Longview Museum, Longview, TX, Special Mention, juried by David Turner
National Invitational Show, Weil Gallery, Corpus Christi State University, Corpus Christi, TX, curated by Greg Reuter
Recent Works from East Texas, Tyler Museum, Tyler, TX

1981
Texas Ceramists, Lufkin Museum, Lufkin, TX
Inaugural Exhibition, Objects Gallery, San Antonio,TX
80 Texans, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX
Robert L. Pfannebecker Collection, A Selection of Contemporary American Crafts, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

1979
Texas Clay II, University Art Gallery, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
Clayworks by Texans, Weil Gallery, Corpus Christi State University, Corpus Christi, TX
Fine Crafts Exhibition, The Sara Campbell Blaffer Gallery, Houston, TX

1979
Raku V National Competitive Ceramics Competition, Layton Gallery, Layton, NJ

1979
Works in Clay Competitive Exhibition, Wichita Falls Art Association Gallery, Wichita Falls, TX

1978
Ceramics As Sculpture, Kauffman Fine Art Gallery, Houston, TX

1977
Clay, Fiber, Metal: National Invitational, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX

1976
Approaches II Exhibit, National Council on the Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference, Baton Rouge, LA
50 American Artists Exhibition, National Council on the Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference, Baton Rouge, LA
Texas Potter, Caddo Indian to Contemporary, Star of the Republic Museum, Washington, TX, First Prize (Purchase Award)

Collections

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Contemporary Indian Art, Santa Fe, NM
Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, NY
Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX
Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, TX
John Hechinger, Washington, DC
Robert Pfannebecker, Lancaster, PA
Donald Sultan, New York, NY
Dorothy Weiss, San Francisco, CA
Carol Straus, Houston, TX

Bibliography

2015
Borders and Connections, the Art of Piero Fenci,  American Art Collector Magazine, February 2015 issue, article written by Susie J. Silbert
Piero Fenci – La Cerca, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, essays written by Dr. David A. Lewis and Dr. Scott Robinson

2011
Edge of Life, Forest Pathology/Art – Michelle Rozic and David Kulhavy, Everbest Print Co. through FCI Print Group
Tribeza – Austin Arts/Culture Magazine, October issue – “An Audience with Ceramic Artist Piero Fenci”
Revista Bujia, Arte Contemporaneo, September/October issue – “Piero Fenci, Maestro de la Ceramica,” published in Chihuahua, MX, review by Luis Fernando Villalobos Amendariz

2004
Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques – James C. Watkins and Paul Andrew Wandless, Lark Books

2000
Clay and Glazes for the Potter, Third Edition –  Daniel Rhodes, Revised and Expanded by Robin Hopper, Krouse Publications
Creative Jolt Inspirations – Rose Gonella, North Light Books
The Contemporary Potter – Jonathan Fairbanks, Angela Fina, and Christopher Gustin, Rockport Publications, Inc.

1999
The Best of Pottery, Vol. 2 – Jonathan Fairbanks and Angela Fina, Rockport Publishers, Inc.
The NCECA Journal – Vol. 19, “A Voice of Dissent”, Tony Merino, vol. 19, 1999

1997
The Nantucket Beacon – “Sumptuous Surfaces; Functional Forms” (June 25), Nantucket, MA
The Inquirer and Mirror – “Fenci’s Clay Forms Emerge From Historical Studies” (June 26), Nantucket, MA

1996
The Best of Pottery – Jonathan Fairbanks and Angela Fina, Rockport Publishers, Inc.

1993
Seattle Times – “Form over Function in Kirkland Show” (September 17), Seattle, WA
Houston Post – “Sculptures have Exotic Inspiration” (December 10), Houston, TX

1990
Nantucket Gardens and Houses – Taylor Lewis and Virginia Scott Heard; Little, Brown and Company, 1990

1984
Studio Potter, “Cutting Edge Nomination” (December issue)

1981
Texas Homes, “Texas Craftsman – Spirited Sculptures Shaped From Clay” (November issue)

1980
House and Garden, “Stalking the Great American Craft” (April issue)

Related Work

1975 – Present
Professor of Art, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX

Spring 2004, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, and Fall 2010, Fall 2011
Visiting Professor, Escuela de Bellas Artes, Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico

Summers 1974, 1975, 2002, 2003
Visiting Professor, Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts, Nantucket, MA

Workshops and Visiting Artist Lectures

Alabama Clay Conference, Huntsville, AL
Baylor University, Waco, TX
Bennington College, Bennington, VT
Colorado Mountain College, Aspen, CO
Corpus Christi State University, Corpus Christi, TX
Dallas Craft Guild, Dallas, TX
Lee College, Baytown, TX
Loyola University, New Orleans, LA
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX
Nantucket Island School of Art and Design, Nantucket, MA
Rocky Mountain College, Snowmass Village, CO
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
Texas A & M, College Station, TX
Texas A&M University, Commerce, TX
Texas Tech, Lubbock, TX
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, MX
University of Dallas at Irving, Irving, TX
University of Houston, Clear Lake, TX
University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
University of Texas, Austin, TX

Symposia and Conferences

1998
National Council on the Education of the Ceramic Arts Conference – Organizer and Coordinator of the Demonstration Program, Fort Worth, TX

1993
Texas Clay Symposium – Co-Director, San Marcos, TX
Texas Clay Symposium – Slide Presentation and Lecture, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Residencies

2008
“Artists invite Artists Residency,” Watershed International Center for the Ceramic Arts, Wiscasset, ME, invited by Virginia Scotchie

Awards

2012
Texas Master Award, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

1998
Stephen F Austin State University Foundation Faculty Achievement Award for innovation and excellence in teaching, research and service
Teaching Excellence Award, College of Fine Arts, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX

2010
Nominated for Regents Professor, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX

Intimate scale, the history of use, the tactile qualities of touching and lifting, and, above all, the interaction of surface and form are central concerns in my work.  I have developed a deep attachment to many types of functional objects.  They include Etruscan pottery, pre-Columbian architecture, Japanese armor of the Muromachi period, Shaker hatboxes and tinware, and traditional Origami. I take these archetypes, filter them through my psyche, and intuitively connect them.  My work, therefore, constitutes loosely rendered reinventions of the past; they are my attempt to build a family tree of spiritual ancestors, a heritage of my own passions.

The ink drawings represent a new direction in my work.  They are flights of fancy that spin off my ceramic pieces, portrayals of vessels unfettered by the physics of gravity, ceramic engineering, and the limits of the medium of fired clay.  The drawn images move in other trajectories:  they can float in midair, split in half, turn somersaults, and morph into organic entities. These drawings reflect the intuitive elegance of decisions made rapidly and offhandedly.  The approach here differs radically from that of making a three-dimensional object which must somehow survive the complex, time consuming, and demanding process of construction and firing.