Professor of Ceramics at the George Washington University, Turker Ozdogan received his initial ceramics training and Masters of Ceramics diploma at the Applied Fine Arts School, Istanbul, Turkey.  He was awarded apprenticeships at Eczacibasi Ceramics Factory, Turkey, and at Furst Adolf Werkstatte Fur Keramik, Buckeburg, Germany.  He continued his formal studies in the United States at the Corcoran College of Art and Design as a fellowship recipient, and at the George Washington University where he received his MFA degree.

Subsequent to a three-year faculty appointment at Federal City College he joined the faculty at the George Washington University, establishing its Ceramics Program where he continues to serve as director.  Reflecting his own ambitious and varied exploration of the ceramics medium, his demonstration methods often dictated the kind of work with which he engaged, while the ceramics program provided an exceptionally broad range of courses, encompassing functional, sculptural, architectural, and industrial ceramics. 

Professor Ozdogan was a professional tenor saxophone player during his years of study and hence, his love of jazz inspired his first series of “musician” sculptures. Parallel to the range of teaching, the artist’s oeuvre encompasses functional, sculptural, architectural, and industrial ceramics.   He continues to explore an academic interest in Native American, Central Asian, Siberian and Anatolian cultures.

The artist’s characteristic achievement in sculptural form conveys a respectful attitude toward the inherent nature of the clay material.  His technical expertise concentrates the power of volumetric expansion and utilizes the inner energy of hollow forms when modeling monumental sculpture.  The stages of his work progressed from wheel-thrown hollow rings of iconic forms with abstract relationships to figurative interpretations of the American cultural experience.    Envisioning shamanic practices of various cultures in the form of ceremonial vessels, the artist also draws from textiles and colors of traditional folk art to enliven his abstract sculptures with patterns.   Some gracefully fluid vessel forms are referential of birds, animals, or the human figure. Organic processes of growth and spiritual awakening are sensed in the pinching, draping, slab, slumping and thrown elements expressive of states of being such as elation, mystery, and the enactment of animistic rituals.    

As a practicing professional artist Ozdogan has achieved national and international recognition through a variety of research grants and awards, juried expositions, and one-person exhibitions.  These have had varied venues including, most notable, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the International Monetary Fund, the World bank, Meridian House, and the United Nations Plaza, Turkevi Gallery.  His ceramic art has been reviewed and featured on television and in newspapers and periodicals as well as reproduced in texts on ceramics.

Professor Ozdogan’s work has been widely collected and is contained in many public and private collections in the United States and abroad, including The George Washington University Permanent Collection, and Kale Ceramics Museum, Turkey.

By Lenore D. Miller
Director, University Art Galleries and Chief Curator
The George Washington University


Professor Turker Ozdogan, Director of
Ceramics Program
George Washington University
Department of Fine Arts and Art History / Smith Hall of Art, Rm A101
801 22nd St, NW, Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-6453 -

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