Professor of Art
Joined Connecticut College: 2005
On sabbatical Spring 2015
B.F.A., University of Connecticut
M.F.A., Alfred University
• Ceramics • Sculpture • Site-specific art
Denise Pelletier has a wide range of expertise in ceramic sculpture/handbuilding, moldmaking, slipcasting and industrial production methods, and a decade of experience in making vessels and functional pottery. She is experienced with majolika, underglazes, china paints, reduction and oxidation high-fire glazes, silkscreen and digital decals, traditional and experimental image transfer techniques, paper clay, plaster clay, casting slip and adobe.
She became chair of the art department in 2011. She teaches these courses at Connecticut College: Foundations: Concepts in Three Dimensions (Art 102), Ceramics: Vessel Constructions, Object as Idea (Art 218) and Ceramics: Moldmaking and Casting. (Art 219).
Denise Pelletier's work has been featured in many national and international exhibitions including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Museum for Angewandte Kunst, in Frankfurt, Germany; Hogeschool's Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands; Skulpturens Hus, Stockholm, Sweden; and the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Her recent shows have been at Garth Clark Gallery, New York, and the Clay Studio, Philadelphia.
She has taught and lectured widely, received numerous grants and awards, and has held residencies in Den Bosch, the Netherlands; at the Kohler Company, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; and at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Newcastle, Maine.
Pelletier received the 2013 John S. King Memorial Award, established by Connecticut College to recognize teacher-scholars with high standards of teaching excellence and concern for students.
Pelletier was awarded an Arts/Industry Residency Grant from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. International artists submit proposals for “…innovative explorations in the arts,” and spent several months at the Kohler Company factory working with industrial materials, equipment and processes. Pelletier made sculptural components for a new installation using vitreous china clay used in the sanitary ware industry. Pelletier was in residence at the factory from January through March 2008, during her sabbatical leave.
Professor Pelletier has received numerous grants and fellowships, including a Professional Development Grant and a Research Travel Grant from Rhode Island School of Design.
Before coming to Connecticut College, Denise taught at Rhode Island School of Design as an Assistant Professor. She has taught ceramics as a Visiting Professor at NY State College of Ceramics and Connecticut College, and served as lecturer at the Hartford Art School, Ohio State University and Ithaca College.
"As an artist who uses a variety of materials, found objects, images, and text, I try to be aware of the history and symbolic meaning each element brings forth. The capacity of ceramic material to be transformed from mud, dust, or stone into objects of culture has long defined my commitment to the medium. Raw clay can suggest fertile earth or contamination, or it can operate as a metaphor for changing physiological or emotional states. Porcelain is permanent, precious, pure, antiseptic. The widespread use of ceramic material throughout time and across cultures for objects associates with the care of the body, sustenance and cleanliness, and for architecture, ritual, and treasure, offers me a rich source to tap in the making of my work." - Denise Pelletier