Bean Finneran

Bean Finneran

Artistic Perceptions

“ Then look at the human anatomy. We are all curved surfaces, curving structure, curving muscle and sinew.
This form evolved because it minimizes the amount of materials
and maximizes structural strength.”  — Eugene Tsui

I work with a simple elemental form, a curve made from the most basic natural material, clay. I make and build with hundreds or thousands of these forms. The clay curve connects me to time, the earth, the elements and human culture. The geometry of a curve weaves and allows construction. The clay curves I roll are each similar but unique connecting them to the natural world where blades of grass are almost the same but never quite the same. The process I use to construct the sculptures follows the patterns in nature. The shapes grow in the space allotted them through adding curve after curve. The forms are always transitory, in a space for a given amount of time. The sculptures cannot be moved without taking them apart and reconstructing them. They are built curve-by-curve and disassembled one by one. This process of continual and possible change and transformation connects me to the natural world along with the ordered chaos that comes from organizing thousands upon thousands of individual elements into a form. I garden. I love color and light and the changes light and shadows create. With the sculptures I compose with bright color and form in a space. With its deliberately ‘un-natural’ color, the work celebrates aspects of nature but does not attempt to mimic it.

The constructions are abstract rings, lines, cones, circles but often evoke real things: sea anemones, coral reefs, haystacks or wind blown grasses.       



BORN: 1947 Cleveland, OH

Goucher College, Baltimore, MD
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Museum School, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MA
Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA


Gail Severn Gallery, Sun Valley, Ca.
Spectra Bolinas Art Museum, Bolinas, Ca.
New Work108 Contemporary, Tulsa, Ok.
Polka-Dot-PlateauJose State University, San Jose, Ca.
Musee Royal de MariemontBelgium
Incidence & PatternPDX Gallery, Portland, Or.
Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.
XXe Biennale Internationale de Ceramique Contemporaine de Vallauris, France
New Work Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, Ill.
REALMSPhiladelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pa.
CYCLEBaltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, Md.

MeanderUniversity of Oklahoma, Stillwater, Ok
TOPOLOGYBraunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.
Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, New York
SHIFTPDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR

UP/Down/AroundGallery 555 Oakland Museum of California at City Center
Pacini Lubel Gallery, Seattle, WA
Slow Time / Play Time   Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, Ca.
Random Encounters, Installation, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
Yellow, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Bean Finneran: Recurrence, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Eyre/Moore Gallery, Seattle, WA

New Work, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Installation, The 2nd Annual International Art Exposition, San Francisco, CA
Installation, Davis Art Center, Davis, CA
Introductions, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA


New Work Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum Id. (2 person show with Jun Kaneko)
Natural Inclinations Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana
Gail Severn Gallery, Sun Valley, Id.
Pushing the Limits, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Subtraction & Addition, ceramic sculpture and installations, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA (3 person show)
The Character of Clay, Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, ID (2 person show with Jun Kaneko)


La Sculpture Ceramique Expression Contemporaire, Giroussens,  France
“Celebrating Ruth”  Fouladi Projects , San Francisco, Ca.
Ceramic Invitational, Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado

Ceramic & Landscape Keramis-Centre de la Ceramique, Belgium
“50 Women”  Kansas City Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Kansas
Ceramics Invitational: NW Clay, Traver Gallery, Seattle, Washington
AccumulationsSlate Gallery, Oakland, Ca.
ToriawaseSan Jose Institute of Contemporary Art , San Jose, Ca.
BUILDTraywick Gallery, Berkeley, Ca.

Clay in the BayDe Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Ca.
Earth & Alchemy Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston, Ma.
Introductions: Where They Are Now, Braunstein/Quay Gallery San Francisco, CA.



Favardin et de Verneuil Galerie, Paris, France
World Ceramic Biennale Korea, Adventures of the Fire
Full and Spare: ceramic art in the 21st centuryMuseum of Fine Arts at Florida State University (winter 2008)
HUSH LUSH/Contemporary Crafts Piedmont Arts Association, Martinsville, Va.
ABSTRACT SCULPTURE, The Claystudio, Philadelphia, Pa.

Multiplicity: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture,
    San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX

Multiplicity: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture, Landmark Arts,
    Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Multiplicity: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture, Southwest School of Art and Craft, San Antonio, TX

Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery, Pasadena, Ca.
Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, Ill
Nature’s WondersPacini Lubel Gallery, Seattle, Wa.
Red, White, and Black Gail Severn Gallery, Sun Valley, Id.
Multiplicity:  Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture Portland Art Center, Portland, Oregon
Multiplicity: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture, Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas, El Paso, TX ( summer)
Arts Botanica, Loyola University Museum of Art

Tales from The Kiln, San Jose Museum of Art   09/2005-09/2006
Today’s Voice: Exploring Alternative Applications, Neuhoff Gallery, New York, N.Y.
NEXT, PDX Gallery, Portland, OR
World Ceramic Biennale 2005, Icheon, Republic of Korea ( special prize)
From Tiles to Totems: a Century of Northern California Ceramics, Art Foundry, Sacramento, 

Critical Mass, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
Black & White, Linda Ross Contemporary, Detroit, MI
Pucini Lubel Gallery, Seattle, WA
Susan Street Fine Arts Gallery, Solano Beach, CA
Chaos / Control, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL
Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, ID
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
 A Rare Glimpse: Modern American Art from Private Napa Valley Collections, Napa Valley Museum, Napa, CA

Branch Out, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
Small Works, Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

Conceptual Color, Santa Cruz Museum of History and Art, Santa Cruz, CA
Scripps 58th Ceramic Annual, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
New Space, New Work, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Conceptual Color, San Francisco State University Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Landscape as Memory, Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA
SOFA, Chicago, IL
Ceramics Annual, John Natsoulis Gallery, Davis, CA
ARTSHOW 1, Microsoft Art Collection, Seattle, WA

Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, France
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts
Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, Ca.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Microsoft Inc.
Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Private collections

The artist performing with SOON 3 Theater, Rome 1981.

The artist performing with SOON 3 Theater,
Rome 1981.

Performer: ZONE Theatre Company

Associate Artistic Director-Designer-Performer: SOON 3 Theatre Company 1972-present

Nine national and international tours including performances in Moscow, Cairo, Dubrovnik, Rome, Amsterdam, New York.  In San Francisco SOON 3 premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975 and has performed locally at the Magic Theatre, Cowell Theatre, Theatre Artaud, The Lab and various outdoor locations.


select images from the studio