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John Rohlfing, MFA

Professor of Art

Contact info
Phone: 203.596.4643
Office: MacDermid Hall 111

John RohlfingAcademic Background

Master of Fine Art, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

Bachelors of Arts degree in 1978 from Southern Illinois University

Attended Texas Tech University from 1973-1976

Teaching Background

Professor Rohlfing has taught at Post University since 2001. His courses include Ceramics I, II, III & IV; Painting, I, II, III & IV; Drawing, I & II and Photo, I & II. From 1984 to 1996 Rohlfing was an Associate Professor of Ceramics and Three-Dimensional Design at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford.

Professional Background

John Rohlfing’s ceramic vessels have shown both nationally and internationally.  He is currently working towards a One Person exhibition at the Barnes-Franklin at Tunxis Community College in Farmington CT. Most recently in 2010 his work was shown at the Works Gallery in Philadelphia PA in conjunction with the National Conference for the Education of the Ceramic Arts, In 2009 his work was included in a group exhibition at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA, and a One Person exhibition at the Arts Space Gallery in Hartford, CT. He has twice been awarded Honorable Mentions at the Ceramic Biennial International Competition and World Ceramic Exposition in Korea and an Honorable Mention at the International Ceramics Competition in Mino, Japan. Selected solo exhibitions include the Garth Clark Gallery in New York and Los Angles, the Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York and The Works Gallery in Philadelphia PA. Selected group exhibitions include the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo TX the Racine Art Museum, Racine WI the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, NC, The Navy Pier Show, Chicago, IL, The Helen Drutt gallery, Philadelphia, PA and the Dorothy Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Rohlfing’s work is represented in collections including the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred NY, the Renwick Gallery, at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, the Ichon World Ceramic Center, Korea, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei Taiwan, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, the Museum of Fine Arts, Long Beach, CA, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, the Mint Museum of Art and Design, Charlotte, NC and The Racine Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI. He has received Artist fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the City of New Haven Connecticut’s Percent for Art Program and received the Emerging Talent Award from the National Conference on the Education of the Ceramic Arts.

Teaching Philosophy

John Rohlfing is an enthusiastic teacher and artist who believes that it is important to share this enthusiasm with students during their education so they reach their potential and excel in the work they produce. Rohlfings belief is that teaching with energy and excitement can mean the difference between making learning fun and making it a chore. Professor Rohlfing believes that his role as part of the mechanism is to allow students to open doors, but ultimately art and art experiences are catalysts for helping students achieve a variety of goals. Making art or just learning about art can be the vehicle for the student or any adult to build confidence, develop creative thinking, aesthetic awareness and skills. By creating an environment that stimulates the imagination, challenges the mind and encourages the student to explore, he or she will begin to find his or her own way of using art as a means for self expression.

Personal Background

John Rohlfing loves to travel and is planning a student trip to Amsterdam, Paris and London over spring break 2011. He has taken recent trips to Greece, Mexico, Canada, Italy, France and Spain. John is an avid gardener and cook. He lives with his wife and two college aged daughters in Canton, CT. He serves on the board of the Canton Land Trust.

Research/Academic Interests

John Rohlfing makes ceramic vessels explore the idea of the container as metaphor. He investigates issues of utility and ritual while expressing an interest in landscape, organic abstraction, Cubism and Constructivism. He explores these concerns in both painterly and sculptural ways that integrate ideas of cubist sculpture and abstract painting. He uses hand-building methods and at times incorporates wheel throwing as a forming tool to push and stretch the clay in order to exploit its plastic nature. His vessel forms are comprised of many organically inspired shapes. The parts and pieces that he creates are built and pieces together to form a greater whole in a constructive approach to making form. Rohlfing is very interested in the painted surface and how the painted surface wraps around form. His most recent works are abstract physical structures which are colorfully decorated. His previous pieces explored an interest in landscape, one side of a pot would be decorated with a landscape image, a river or stream flows from distant hills cascading over rock and crevice as the water spills into the viewer’s space. The reverse side is painted with abstract shapes; these shapes are placed like building blocks balancing within the confines of the pot in an effort to redefine the vessels form. These interpretations of the complex interelationships between art and nature, surface and form and man’s relationship to his environment are small but significant attempts to find a personal understanding of the balances in life. For Rohlfing making pots is the art and craft that celebrates the human spirit; it captures the maker’s touch in a material that like humanity is part of a process of transformation and change.

Professional Memberships

John Rohlfing is a member of the College Art Association and the National Conference on the education of the Ceramic Arts.


Ceramics Monthly, Photo and Review, October 2004

Ceramics Monthly, Photo and Review, October 2004

Kerameiki Techni, International Ceramic Art Review, Rohlfings, Ceramic Vessels, Edward-David Ruiez Phd. April, 2004

Tea Anyone? The Donna Moog Teapot Collection, Racine Art Museum, Catalog

Crart, Craft &Art, Korea, May 2003, “John Rohlfing”, Peggy Steinway

Canton Life, May 2003, Interview, Stephanie Riefe

Ceramics: A Potters Handbook by Glen Nelson and Richard Burkett, Photo

World Ceramic Exposition 2001 Korea, Catalog

Allen Chasanoff Ceramic Collection, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Catalog

Ceramics Monthly, March 2001, “Container as Metaphor”, Matt Damsker