Robert Silverman balances material, process, and idea in a strong, unified whole. In his materials, he brings together pieces with international origins: large-format tiles that originate in China and glazes from England and the Netherlands. Silverman’s technically demanding process combines complex glazing and multi-firing methods that unite the materials in a way that supports and conveys his underlying concepts. These ideas are presented through words, letterforms, coded symbols, color, and texture.

We know not through our intellect but through our experience. ― Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Unlike other philosophers, Merleau-Ponty emphasized the body as well as the mind as a gateway to understanding the world. His belief that the body and that which it perceived could not be separated seems perfectly suited to the perceptual and haptic sensibilities of fired clay.
I was initially trained as a social geographer and later as an artist. Acknowledging this early training and reflecting the mind-body understanding, my current work connects the way in which we both visualize information and viscerally experience this process of perception.  — Robert Silverman

Bobby Silverman’s brilliantly-glazed, large-scale porcelain tiles begin as raw clay in China, where ceramic tradition dates back hundreds of years. Working with expert craftsman, Silverman designed a paper-thin flat tile up to 43 x 33”, which is in itself a technical achievement. The blank tile is fabricated in Jingdezhen, China, fired to a high temperature, crated, and shipped to his studio in the United States. Silverman then masterfully glazes the porcelain and fires it numerous times in his kiln to create a visual language of pure color, vivid striping, or abstract text using Morse code or braille. Because Silverman makes his masterful understanding of the chemistry of ceramics look effortless, the viewer sees a pristine, vibrant work of art that is reminiscent of color field painting, but resonates with a color and light that only glaze can achieve.

In October 2000, artist Eddie Rama became the Mayor of Tirana, Albania. At that time the capital city was a downtrodden remnant of the Soviet Union. The city budget was squandered, corruption was rampant and crime was the norm. But Rama had an idea to raise the spirits of his town — he painted many of the grey buildings loud colors and bold designs.

When the colored buildings began to multiply, a mood of change started to transform the spirit of the people. There was less litter in the streets, people started to pay taxes. As Rama said “Beauty was giving people a feeling of being protected. This was not a misplaced feeling — crime did fall.”

Inspired by Rama’s vision, I use everyday commercial tile and glaze materials to create surfaces and imagery that blur the traditional lines drawn between art, design and architecture. In doing this I hope to elevate everyday materials and give them meaning beyond their manufactured intent.


1981-1983         MFA Ceramics, New York State College of Ceramics Alfred University, Alfred, NY

1978-1980        BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

1974-1978        BFA Social Geography, cum laude, Clark University, Worcester, MA

1976-1977        Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan



2007        Louisiana State Council of the Arts Artist Entrepreneur Grant

2004        Louisiana State Council of the Arts Mini-Grant Individual Fellowship

1999         Louisiana State Council of the Arts Individual Fellowship

1995         Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship

1988         New York State Council of the Arts Artist in Resident Fellowship



2014          Art and Industry, Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

2011           European Ceramic Work Center ( with CW&T),  ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

2008          Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, CO

2007          Code/Ornament, Bentley Gallery Scottsdale, AZ

2007          Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

2006          European Ceramic Work Center, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

2006          Bentley Projects, Phoenix, AZ

2004          Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

2003          Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

2003          Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS

2001          Ferrin Gallery, SOFA, New York, NY

2001          Gallery Materia Scottsdale, AZ

2000         Farrell/Pollack Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY

2000         Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

1998          Gallery Materia, Scottsdale, AZ

1998          European Ceramic Work Center, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

1998          Firehouse Arts Center, Norman, OK

1989          Jane Hartsook Gallery, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY




Kindred Beasts: The 2016 Everson Biennial, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY


Waterfall Mansion, New York


Made in China: The New Export Ware, Ferrin Contemporary at Independent Art Projects, North Adams, MA

Made in China: The New Export Ware, Ferrin Contemporary at Miami Project, Miami, FL

Made in China: The New Export Ware, Ferrin Contemporary at New York Ceramics Fair, New York, NY


Ceramic Top 40, Belger Art Center, KC, MO

Convergence, Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY


British Ceramic Biennial, Stoke-On-Trent, England


Boom or Bust, Lyons Weir Gallery, NY, NY

(Re)Form,  H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO

Ceramics and Architecture, Dutch Design Week, European Ceramic Work Center, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands


Survey of Contemporary Art, Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen, CO


New Now, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygen, WI

Summer Show, Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ


Multiples, Bennington College, Bennington, VT


Summer Show, Gallery Artists, Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

SOFA New York, Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ


SOFA Chicago, Sherry Leedy Gallery,

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, SOFA, Chicago


21st Century Ceramics, Columbia College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH

Art Form Palm Beach: International Fair for Dimensional Fine Art, Ferrin Gallery, Palm Beach, FL

Shared Passion: The Sara David Lieberman Collection, Arizona State University Museum of Art, Tempe, AZ


An Invitational, Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO

La Grange National 2002 Biennial, Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum, La Grange, GA


A Ceramic Continuum: Fifty Years of the Archie Bray’s Influence, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT


Color and Form, Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY

SOFA Park Ave Armory/ Gallery Materia, New York, NY

Blue Heron Gallery, Deer Isle, ME

SOFA Chicago, Navy Pier/ Gallery Materia, Chicago, IL


Revolution of Style, American Craft Museum, New York, NY

Rendezvous, Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearny NE

An Invitational, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO


Introductions, Ferrin Gallery, Northampton, MA


Summer Show, Nancy Margolis Gallery, Portland, OR


The Best in Contemporary Clay, Miller Gallery and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH


Southern Arts Federation Art Auction Governor’s Mansion, Atlanta, GA

LaGrange National Biennial XIX, Lamar Dodd Art Center, LaGrange, GA


1995 SAF/NEA Regional Fellowships in Crafts Halsey Gallery, Charleston, SC

Winter Showcase, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

1995 Monarch National Ceramic Competition, Kennedy-Douglas Center for the Arts, Florence, AL

Artists on Their Own, Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York, NY

10th Annual San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX


University of Washington Invitational, Seattle, Washington


Art in Bloom, New Orleans Art Museum, New Orleans, LA

NCECA Clay National, The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA



Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

The Berman Collection, New York, NY

Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH

Ceramic Research Center at Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ

Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum, La Grange, GA

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO

European Ceramic Work Center, s’Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse NY Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

Landmark Bank, Madill, OK

The Marer Collection, Scripps College, Claremont, CA

The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, New York, NY

President’s Collection, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI

Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Schein-Joseph International Ceramics Museum, Alfred, NY




“Exposure,” Ceramics Monthly Magazine, October 2011


Ceramics and Architecture, European Ceramic Work Center, Netherlands

“Ceramics and the Elastic Mind,” Studio Potter, V37 N2

“Garden Gallery,” Phoenix Home and Garden


“Why the Y,” Ceramics Monthly Magazine


“The MFA Factor,” Ceramics Monthly Magazine


“NCECA  National,” Ceramics Monthly Magazine


The Craft and Art of Clay, Susan Peterson, Prentice Hall


21st Century Ceramics, Catalogue published by Columbus College of Art and Design, Bill Hunt

Shared Passion: The Sara and David Lieberman Collection, Catalogue, Peter Held, State University Press, Tempe, Arizona


Ceramics: A Potter’s Handbook, Glenn Nelson and Richard Burkett,8-4

“A Glimpse of the Invisible,” Ceramic Art and Perception, Volume 49


Post Modern Ceramics, Mark Del Vecchio, Thames and Hudson

A Ceramic Continuum: Fifty Years of Ceramic Influence, University of Washington Press

Nouvel Object VI: Artists from Around the World, pg 184

“Bobby Silverman,” Revista Internacional Ceramica, No. 75


“Bobby Silverman: Objects, Still-Lifes, Installations,”  Ceramic Art and Perception


”Bobby Silverman: Objects of Pure Perception,” American Craft Magazine

“Bobby Silverman,” Ceramics Monthly Magazine


Bobby Silverman, European Ceramic Work Center Catalogue


“AAF/NEA Winners,” American Craft Magazine


“Bobby Silverman, An Autobiography,” Ceramics Monthly


“Soda Firing,” Studio Potter Magazine, Volume 21, Number 2


LECTURES (selected)


Columbia University, New York, NY

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY


Archie Bray Foundation 60th Anniversary, Helena, MT


Hunter College, NY, NY

Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


NCECA Conference 2009, Ceramics and the Elastic Mind, Lecture, Phoenix, AZ

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI


University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA


Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO


Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI


John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygen, WI


Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC


Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus OH

Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM

Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS


Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Arts Forum, Phoenix, AZ

Arizona State University, Scottsdale, AZ


Haystack  School, Deer Isle, ME

Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

92nd St Y, New York, NY

Hunter College, New York, NY

Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

Parsons School of Design, New York, NY

University of Montana, Missoula, MT


Arrowmount School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN


Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO

Arizona Clay, Phoenix, AZ

Firehouse Art Center, Norman, OK


Peters Valley Craft Center, Layton, NJ

University of Massachusetts, New Bedford, MA


The Art of Craft Symposium, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

University of Florida, Gainseville, FL


Emerging  Talent, NCECA, Kansas City, MO


Betzalel Art School, Jerusalem, Israel

Beersheva Art School, Beersheva, Israel.

Edinburough School of Art, Edinburough, Scotland



2007-Present     Established Alsio Design LLC, Brooklyn, NY

1990-2007         Co-Chair Ceramics Department Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

1989-1990         Adjunct Professor Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

1987-1989         Resident Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

1984-1987         Adjunct Professor Massachusetts College of Art, Boston MA