University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Art

School of Art Galleries

Daniel Newman


Having grown up in the rust belt of northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio, I have observed a prosperous history followed by calamity and how this haunts the general psyche of its inhabitants. My work is driven by my research of this history and the need to convey the psychological weight of growing up in an area with little prospects for the future. Youngstown, Ohio’s history of rising to the status of one of the most important industrial cities in America and collapsing into one of the country’s poorest is reflected in abstracted sculptures that I develop by building, breaking, and heaping fragments of corroded steel, ceramic, and wood detritus reminiscent of the current decayed state of the postindustrial landscape.

These works embody and convey the psychological and emotional disparity left from the industrial and economic fallout. Like the identity of Youngstown after the shut down and outsourcing of industry, my sculptures are amorphous and crumbling. I think of broken clay coils and extrusions as broken neural pathways and corroded steel as a vestige of my home’s identity. Encrusted rebar and steel shards constrict and run through ceramic and concrete forms embodying the rustbelt’s torpor and disillusionment. In some of the sculptures pristine red enameled steel elements represent the prosperous past of the steel industry. The pristine and abject are juxtaposed to create tension between the past and present states of place. The resonance between this dichotomy can be understood as unresolved decline or unrealized potential.

ceramic, steel, burnt wood
45” x 36” x 36”

Ceramic, steel, enamel
69” x 11” x 11”

ceramic, steel
48” x 28” x 28”

ceramic, steel, enamel
48” x 21” x 21”

ceramic, steel, enamel
29” x 21” x 19”

MFA 2022