Some of the most talented ceramics students in the nation were featured in a recent issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine. Of the 16 students, two were University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students, including senior William Pariso and recent graduate Ben Fiess.
"I’m not sure the term undergraduate accurately reflects the level of achievement we see in the works submitted for this showcase," said Sherman Hall, editor for Ceramics Monthly.
Pariso, came to UW-Whitewater to study biology but after taking a few art history courses gained an interest in art.
"Once in the studio, it was easy to tell where I really felt comfortable spending my time," he said.
A lot of Pariso’s artwork consists of experimentation of technique, and through that his main goal is to create a piece that is pleasing to the viewer but can also provoke thought and question.
"This is really a simple idea, but it allows for me to interject my own questions and discoveries in the final outcome," Pariso said.
Fiess, much like Pariso, had no real interest in studying art or ceramics, but still had somewhat of an interest in the medium.
"There is a sense of accomplishment having your work published in a magazine, but I think to a greater degree it has been beneficial in that I can refer people to look at the magazine instead of trying to describe my work to them," Fiess said.
It took Fiess about a year and half to complete the artwork and was finished this past January. The artwork was actually a continuation of an earlier piece.
"There is significance to the work, but I’ve chosen to withhold my interpretation of the meaning and present its forms in space," he said.
Both students were working with guidance from the two ceramics professors at UW-Whitewater, Jared Janovic and Charlie Olson.
"As close mentors to both Ben Fiess and William Pariso, my colleague Charlie Olson and I are quite proud of their accomplishments," said Janovic. "I feel as though their acceptance into the Ceramics Monthly magazine provides some proof that Charlie Olson and I are running a quality ceramic’s program in what I feel is a strong art department here at UW-Whitewater."
Currently, Fiess is continuing his education in Indiana University’s master of fine arts program in ceramics.
After graduation Pariso plans to pursue graduate school.