Jim Connell has been active and visible in the field since receiving his MFA in 1984 from the University of Illinois, Champagne IL. His masterful works have been included in both group and solo exhibitions in venues throughout the United States. Connell has maintained an active studio practice while also serving as a professor of Ceramics at Winthrop University. He has managed to balance his two professions, teaching and sharing his accumulated skill and knowledge as a professor, while constantly creating as an artist and building a focused body of work.
Connell’s work is vessel focused. Traditional forms of varied scales, teapots, bottle forms, vase forms, and covered jars, become vehicles for his exploration of gesture, line, movement, and motion. Low-relief, variously proportioned tapered facets and flutes, spiral from the bases of his forms up and around their bellies, flowing into the line formed by the lips of each of the vessels. Refined, and beautifully proportioned, these classically defined vessels are then surfaced with glazes of depth and variation within their color. Connell primarily uses a reflective glossy green glaze and a rich rusty/red colored glaze, with a matte surface achieved through sandblasting. This process etches the surface of the glaze, removing the shine and exposing an entirely different world existing beneath its surface imbuing the pieces with a sense of age, history and mystery.