Form and color: Christina Osheim’s sublime ceramics

Osheim’s aesthetic reflects mid-century modern style and her Scandinavian roots. Photo: Christina Osheim Osheim’s aesthetic reflects mid-century modern style and her Scandinavian roots. Photo: Christina Osheim

Christina Osheim distills a wealth of fine arts education and diverse influences into her ceramics. She studied at Minnesota’s St. Olaf College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art before establishing her Charlottesville studio, Möbius Keramikk, at 1740 Broadway St. Her wheel-thrown objects (cups and tumblers) and items with stenciled patterns (plates and tiles) show great skill and originality. But her one-off cast pieces set her work apart.

“These objects—they are cast, but they are canvases,” says Osheim, a third-generation Norwegian-American. “My duty as an artist is to create patterns in color that highlight their three-dimensionality.”

Hence the word Möbius in her studio name: It refers to the poem “Möbius Strip” by French surrealist Robert Desnos, and to the flat-but-twisted loop associated with the infinity symbol as well as the transition from two to three dimensions.

Discovering her creations online or at events, customers have taken note, and orders pour in from across the United States all the way to Paris.

What do people see in her art? Modernism, surrealism, elegance and simplicity. These attributes stem from her Scandinavian roots, her education in sculpture, her time at Cranbrook (the “incubator” of mid-century modernism), and influences including director David Lynch, sculptor Louise Bourgeois, and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell.

A sense of playfulness is also evident. Osheim tells the story of once creating a ceramic chamber pot—a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” a porcelain urinal submitted, but never displayed, at the 1917 Society of Independent Artists show in New York.

It’s difficult to sum up what makes Osheim’s ceramics so compelling. But a line on her website (mobiuskeramikk.com) gets close: “Her work explores the concepts of ‘high’ art in everyday objects with humor and intellect.”

We agree, and feel fortunate to have Osheim as part of Charlottesville’s arts community.