John Roloff is a visual artist who works conceptually with site, process and natural systems. He is known primarily for his outdoor kiln/furnace projects done from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s as well as other large-scale environmental projects, gallery installations and objects investigating geologic and natural phenomena. Based on an extensive background and ongoing research in the earth sciences, his work since the late 1960’s engages poetic and site-specific relationships between material, concept and performance in the domains of geology, ecology, architecture, ceramics, industry and mining, metabolic systems and history.
The ship is a central image of his work, metaphorically evoking psychological and transformative processes of the sea and land in geologic and Anthropocene time. He studied at UC Davis in the late 1960’s with Professor Eldridge Moores and others in geology during the formative days of plate tectonics and art with Bob Arneson and William T. Wiley. He studied with Louis Marak and others at CSU Humboldt, earning a masters degree in 1973. In addition to numerous environmental, site-specific installations in the US, Canada and Europe, his work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, UC Berkeley Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, Photoscene Cologne, the Venice Architectural and Art Biennales, The Snow Show in Kemi, Finland and Artlantic: wonder, Atlantic City, NJ. Public art works that explore geologic and related concepts can be found at sites such as: Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, I-5 Colonnade Park, Seattle, WA and Stanford University, Stanford, CA. He has received 3 artist’s visual arts fellowships from the NEA, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, a California Arts Council grant for visual artists and a Bernard Osher Fellowship at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. He is represented by Anglim Gilbert Gallery in San Francisco and is Professor Emeritus, Sculpture/Ceramics Program, San Francisco Art Institute.