Ceramic installation artist Tsehai Johnson and her husband, Michael Tavel, an architect and University honors graduate, will visit the UT Toledo Museum of Art Campus next week.On Monday, March 30, Johnson will present two visiting artist workshops in the Ceramics Studio of the Glass Crafts Building. The free, public workshops will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 31, Johnson and Tavel will give a free, public lecture from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts Haigh Auditorium.
A native of Colorado, Tavel graduated from The University of Toledo in 1985 with dual degrees in art and adult liberal studies. He received a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. He won top prizes in architectural design at Berkeley, including a one-year traveling fellowship.
Tavel also worked for three internationally known architects: Mark Mack in San Francisco, Christopher Alexander in Berkeley and Heinz Tesar in Vienna before returning to teach in the graduate school of the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado in 1991. He has lectured nationally and in Europe, Africa and South America on architecture, landscape and town planning.
While teaching at the University of Colorado, Tavel co-founded and directed a summer study abroad town-planning program in Prague, Czech Republic, where he worked with city officials on challenging urban projects from 1993 to 2000.
In Colorado, he worked for Hoover Berg Desmond Architects from 1993 to 1996 and was a senior associate at Wolff Lyon Architects from 1997 to 2002 gaining experience in traditional mixed-use neighborhood development. After one year with Van Meter Williams Pollack Architects in Denver, he was offered the Solar Village mixed-use project in Longmont and founded Michael Tavel Architects.A celebrated ceramic installation artist, Johnson had her work featured at the 2014 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts National Conference in the Milwaukee Art Museum.
She is an artist whose interests explore the boundaries between public and private life. Her performance events and installations encourage reflection on the tension between order and function, as expressed through the objects that populate our lives. Making porcelain objects, interactive installations and mixed-media wall pieces, she utilizes dense ornamentation and everyday objects to explore realities of human existence.
In 2013, Johnson completed an Art in Architecture Commission for the Byron Rogers Federal Building in Denver.
Born in Ethiopia in 1966, Johnson received a bachelor of arts degree in art history from Reed College in 1989, a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art in 1993, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Colorado in 1999.
Her exhibitions have been held in Colorado, New York, France and Korea, and her work is featured in collections in New York, Colorado and Iceland.
She is the recipient of a Colorado Council of the Arts Fellowship and residencies in Germany, Spain and Iceland.