• Installation
    • Ceramic
    • buttons 6” to 15” in diameter
    • Installation detail
    • Ceramic
    • buttons 6” to 15” in diameter
    • Installation detail
    • Ceramic
    • buttons 6” to 15” in diameter
    • Wall Button
    • Ceramic
    • 15” x 4”

Artist Statement

I often describe my work as an obsession with line. Some see this as a logical extension of my work as a teacher of mathematics.  To me, it is more about striving to use the ceramic surface to develop a graphic language.  Ultimately, I am drawn to the play of positive and negative space, and the tension between boundary and flow.  While I strive for an organic feel in my work, I am deliberate and careful in the design and execution of each piece.

The wall discs (buttons) came from a fertile period where I explored and developed a design vocabulary.  The patterns that came out of this period inform my work even now. In 2010, the City of Emeryville purchased a large installation of the buttons for their permanent collection, which how hangs at entry to City Hall.  Since then, I have been creating large scale installations with these buttons, from restrained grids to free flowing arrangements where the various sizes and designs are allowed to interact and play.

Artist Bio

Cuong Ta is a modern renaissance man, a math teacher and ceramics artist, with degrees in Rhetoric (UC Berkeley) and Public Policy (University of Michigan).  Ethnically Chinese, Cuong was born and raised in Saigon, until his family escaped as refugees on one of the last flights out of Vietnam, and ended up in Southern California.  His creative pursuits have likewise been peripatetic, from writing short fiction to weaving and jewelry making to creating his own comic book superheroes.

It was ceramics, however, that truly captured Cuong’s heart.  He describes his first lessons in clay as a spiritual process where he felt as if he was channeling a former life as a potter.  He quickly excelled in the medium and created a successful career as a Bay Area artist, all while continuing a full time career as a math teacher and department chair in local independent high schools.

Presently, Cuong teaches San Domenico School in Marin and maintains a studio in Oakland.  His work is represented by Terrestra in Mill Valley and the Kemper Museum Store in Kansas City.  He lives in Emeryville with his husband, artist John Wood.  To see Cuong’s most recent projects, follow him on Instagram @cuongta8, or on Facebook @CuongTaCeramics.