Tip Toland

American, b 1950

The characters in Tip Toland’s sculptures are fragile creatures that find themselves at the end of adulthood or at the beginning of childhood. Those stages in life have a certain vulnerability, isolation and innocence in common. Toland attempts to demonstrate the decline preceding death, and the increased separation from others it brings. Their expressions are unengaged and convey a sense of deep psychological detachment that is sad and enigmatic as well as dignified by the process of natural aging. In his article for, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Glen Brown states, “[The works] weigh upon [the viewer] for the simple reason that they reflect the profound, inevitable solitude that envelops the beginning and the end of life.”


While exploring age and aging, Toland’s work attempts to give voice to inner psychological and spiritual states of being. What is of primary importance to her is that the figures contain particular aspects of humanity, which they mirror back to the viewer. It’s the fragility and transient aspect of mankind that the artist is after. That is one reason for choosing very old or very young subjects; they both portray innocence as well as complexity.  While her subjects are sometimes self-portraits, they are meant to convey universal thruths about humanity, society and the self. 


The hyper realism of Toland’s figures comes from her attention to detail and unique use of materials. Using an encaustic technique, Toland creates a waxy finish for the skin that mimics real flesh. She even goes so far as to incorporate actual human hair into the works. The porcelain eyes create a doll-like realism that is both haunting and entrancing, while carefully defined wrinkles, skin tone, tooth enamel, and bone structure, are remarkably realistic.  Cynthia Nadelman write in Sculpture Review that Toland’s work is uncanny in its verisimilitude, but that “ beyond physicality, there is meaning and poignancy, humor and pathos” in works that range from the real to the absurd. 


Tip Toland’s work is included in such prominent public collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Yellowstone Art Museum, Montana; Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT; Kohler Arts Center, Wisconsin and many private collections worldwide. Toland recently had a retrospective at the Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington; and has exhibited at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Kohler Arts Center, Wisconsin; and the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington. She has been the recipient of a Visual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1986), a First Place Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant (2004), an Artist Trust/Washington States Arts Commission Fellowship (2007), and a Jean Griffith Fellowship Artist Award (2009).


TIP TOLAND                                                                                                 

Born May 9, 1950                                                                                                                              .  



1981              M.F.A., Ceramics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

1975              B.F.A., Ceramics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO



2009              Jean Griffith Fellowship Artist Award, Pottery Northwest, Seattle, WA

2007              Artist Trust/Washington States Arts Commission Fellowship

2007              Nominated for a Neddy Grant, Seattle, WA 

2004              Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant, First Place Award

2002              GAP GrantArtist Trust, Seattle, WA

2001              Emerging Artist, NCECA, Charlotte, N.C.

1997              Artist-in-residence, Centrum, Port Townsend, WA

1995              Artist-in-residence, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

1987              Slides retained for the Slide Reference Library, Ceramics Monthly Magazine

1986              Visual Arts Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts

1982-3           Artist-in-residence, Contemporary Craft Gallery, Portland, OR

1981              Governor’s Award, Northern Rockies Clay, juried traveling exhibition, Hockaday Center for the Arts, Kalispell, MT

                      Purchase, Permanent Collection, Paint on Clay, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

1980              Ferro Corporation, Cash Merit Award, The Westwood Clay National, Los Angeles, CA



2012              Barry Friedman Ltd, New York, NY

2008              Melt, Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA

2007              Pacini Lubel Gallery, Seattle, WA

2005              Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY

2002              Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY

1998              Recent Work, William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1992              William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1990              William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1988              Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                      Traver Sutton Gallery, Seattle, WA

1983              Contemporary Crafts Association, Portland, OR


2010              BAM Biennial 2010 Clay Throwdown, Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA

                      Corporeal Manufestations, The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, PA

                      The Hermaphrodites: Living in Two Worlds, Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                      Disarming Domesticity, The Duke Gallery at CAC, Wallingford, PA

2009              NCECA Clay National Biennial, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

                      Five Fired, Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO

                      Glimpses, Pacini Lubel Gallery

2008              Query and Repose: Jack Earl and Tip Toland, Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, University of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL

2007              Northwest Figurative Ceramics Invitational, Turman Larison Contemporary, Helena, MT

                      Red, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD

                      Neddy Exhibition, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA

2006              Living it Large, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY

                      The Edges of Grace. Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

2005              The 35th Annual Ceramics Exhibition. Crossman Gallery, Univ. of WI, Whitewater

                      Trans-Ceramic Art,  3rd World Ceramic Biennale/World Ceramic Exposition Foundation (WOCEF), World Contemporary

                      Ceramic Exposition. Seoul, Korea

2004              A Ceramic Continuum: Fifty Years of the Archie Bray Influence the Northwest 

                      Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane

2004              Edgy Characters, NCECA, University of Indianapolis, Wheeler Arts Center

2003              Women on the Edge, Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO

2002              Fired Up, Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2001              Gallery Group Plus+, Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2000-02         Ceramic National 2000, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY

2000              Northwest International Art Competition, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA

1998              Thirtieth Artists-in-Residence Birthday Exhibition, Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, OR

1995              Resident artist exhibition, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

1993              Clay 1993, A National Survey, William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1992              Kirkland Center for the Arts, juried, Kirkland, WA

1991              Clay with an Attitude, Kirkland Center for the Arts, Kirkland, WA

                      War in the Gulf, William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

                      Two Person Show, William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1990              Seven Figurative Artists Working in Clay, William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

1989              Third Biennial Oregon / Washington Juried Exhibition, Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA

                      Surreal Ceramics, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

                      Artist-in-Residence Retrospective, Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, OR

1988              Animal Imagery, Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley, CA

                      The Aesthetic Edge, A National Clay Invitational, Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR

                      Northwest Clay, Littman Gallery at Portland State University and Coos Art Museum, Portland, OR

1986              Contemporary Crafts: A Concept in Flux, National Craft Show Room, New York, NY

                      Figure Narrative, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA

                      Three-Person Exhibition, Foster White Gallery, Seattle, WA

1985              Group Clay Exhibition, Foster White Gallery, Seattle, WA

1984              Ceramics and Social Commentary Clay, 1984, Laumeier International Sculpture Park Gallery, St. Louis, MO             

                      1984, Group Show, Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts, Detroit, MI

1983              Louisiana State University Faculty Exhibition, Fine Arts Gallery, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

                      Visiting Artists Exhibition, Foster Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

                      Clay for Walls, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

                      Ceramic Invitational, Blackfish Gallery, Portland, OR

1982              The Many Facets of Paper, Boca Raton Arts Center, Boca Raton. FL

1981              American Clay 1981, Invitational, Meredith Contemporary Art, Baltimore, MD

                      Paint on Clay, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

1980              Westwood Clay National, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY



1979-2009  Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA,  Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, WA,  University of WA , Seattle, WA and numerous art centers nation wide.



Confrontational Ceramics, Judith Schwartz, A& C Black Publishers LTD.  2008

Tip TolandPrayer and Preoccupation, Ceramics Monthly MagazineMatthew Kangas.  Aug/Sept 2007

The Precious and Precarious, Ceramics Art and Perception, Glen Brown, Issue 60, 2005

500 Figures in Clay, Lark Book, 2004

American Clay 1981 and the Arts,  Art in America, Summer 1982.

The ties that Bind. American Illustration 4th Annual:  American Illustration Inc. New York, NY, 1985-86

Restless Nights. American Illustration 5th Annual American Illustration Inc. NY, NY, 1986-87

Art, Money and the N.E.A.  Ceramics Monthly, February 1987.

Northern Rockies Clay.  Ceramics Monthly, November, 1981.

Paint on Clay.  American Crafts, June 1981.

The Westwood Clay National. Published in New York, NY, 1980.



Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C. NY

Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings MT

Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Diane and Mark Grainer

Sandy Besser

Lenny Berkowitz

Ron Porter

Jerry Slipman

Jeffery M. Locker

Nancy Margolis

William Traver

Gail Brown

Raleigh Roark

Candice Groot

Doug Turman &

Susan Cummins

Marylee Larison

Arthur Williams

Judy Allen, Jim Hummer

David Middleman

Helen Drutt English

Doug and Dale Anderson 

David Middleman

Tim Walsh & Mike Healy