Gustavson's work is unique: he uses the traditional Japanese process of raku presented in a decidedly contemporary way. Over the four decades of his career, Gustavson has developed a deep appreciation for the spontaneity and firing process of this ancient art form, becoming a master in his technique while constantly pushing the limits of the medium. The glazes Gustavson uses appeal to one's sense of touch through a continued emphasis on surface quality and texture, while his compositional explorations use both color and textural contrasts to create a sense of depth. There is always a line to follow, an area to dwell on, and a relationship of shapes to explore on Gustavson's sculpture.
Michael Gustavson graduated from San Jose State University with a Master of Fine Arts in 1980. A master in raku ceramic using a wide range of glaze colors and textures, he creates vessels, wall sculptures, and substantial totemic forms to be placed in the garden. All are intricate exercises in the harmony of form, texture, and color. Equally successful as free-form organic sculptures and abstract paintings, the pieces incorporate lusciously textured glazes that perfectly complement the surface quality and shape of his compositions.
The artist's vessels explore a fluidity of form particular to clay. They are thrown on the wheel, distorted, and consequently hand stretched to paper-thin proportions. Each graceful form evokes a dancer's torso, shifting endlessly in shape and design as the viewer perambulates around it.
Gustavson's wall hangings, on the other hand, are fragmented shards that hang together as diptychs, triptychs, or five-slab arrangements. Incorporating the negative space between the pieces into the composition, he simultaneously employs organic and geometric shapes in muted glazes. The result evokes a timeless quality, alluding to the endurance of artistic achievements long after the artist and his culture have ceased to exist.
In his most recent series of powerful tectonic forms created for outdoor spaces, Gustavson continues to express his painterly textural compositions using his extensive palette of glazes in his California studio.
Michael Gustavson's artworks are included in private and public collections throughout the world. Such major corporations as IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Seagate, Cranbrook Museum, and Eastman Kodak own pieces by the artist. Most recently his work has been sold to collectors in London, England and Norway.
SELECTED CORPORATE COLLECTIONS
Apple Computer, Morgan Hill, CA
Bank of Tokyo, Philadelphia, PA
Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, CO
Crankbrook University, Cranbrook, MI
Cabrillo Community College, Santa Cruz, CA
David Cutler Corp, Bell, PA
Kaiser Hospital, Irvine, CA
Kaiser Hospital, Bellflower, CA
Kaiser Hospital, Denver, CO
MacDonald Corp, Chicago, IL
Saks Fifth Avenue, Miami, FL
Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City, NY
Sea Tac Airport, Seattle, WA
Sequim Medical Center, Sequim, WA
Syntax, Santa Clara, CA
Seagate Corp, Bloomington, MI
Wydell & Reed Corp, San Jose, CA
World Headquarters Bank, San Francisco, CA
SELECTED PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Dr. Linus Pauley
Jerry Weintraub, Palm Desert, CA
Owners of Philadelphia 76
1977-1978 San Jose State University, Master of Fine Arts
1976-1977 San Jose State University, Master of Arts
1973-1975 San Jose State University, Bachelor of Arts