"Sanctuary Entwined" is a site-responsive installation on display at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton this summer.
Photo: Courtesy of LongHouse Reserve

From Hamptons Restaurateur to Acclaimed Ceramic Artist

Toni Ross of Nick & Toni's creates gorgeous vessels inspired by the light and ocean

Toni Ross found great success as a restaurateur—with Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, New York—but since shifting her focus to art full-time for the past 19 years, she is finding fulfillment as well as recognition as a ceramic artist. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in film, later to be mentored by famed painter Elaine de Kooning. While Ross often works with oil and paper, her heart lies with ceramics. The past drives the themes of her works as she constantly examines what was and what could have been. That intuition results in serene and deeply personal stoneware pieces—into which Ross pours her soul. Working in her studio, designed by Lee Skolnick in Wainscott, New York, Ross also draws inspiration from boxes, containers, and other vessels that have voids, whether seen or unseen. Many of her recent works are hollow or have empty cores—showing her fascination with the relationship between the inside and outside. There is often a lack of color in these works, as she focuses on line and form—a basic concept, but one that is hard to master. Ross has several exhibitions this year, including “Sanctuary Entwined,” a new site-responsive installation at East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve (through October 15) where three cubes made of hemp twine intersect with three trees: an American beech, a native oak and a weeping European beech. 

While traveling to Samos, Greece, Ross was inspired by Kouroi sculptures to create her 2010 piece, Celestial Kouros in crackle shino glazed and abraded stoneware.
While traveling to Samos, Greece, Ross was inspired by Kouroi sculptures to create her 2010 piece, Celestial Kouros in crackle shino glazed and abraded stoneware. Photo: Jenny Gorman Photography
Toni Ross

Toni Ross Photo: Jenny Gorman Photography

DATES

Born: 1957, New York, New York

Lives: Wainscott, New York 

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

2017, Sanctuary Entwined, LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton, New York 

2016, The Presence of Absence, Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York  and Permanent Transience, Parrish Road Show, Marders, Bridgehampton, New York 

2015, La Mémoire Collective, Galerie Dutko, Paris, France

2014, Contained. Unbound. The Drawing Room, East Hampton, New York

2013, Symbiosis, Hood College, Frederick, Maryland

GALLERIES

A.R.C. Fine Art, Fairfield, Connecticut

The Drawing Room, East Hampton, New York

Galerie Dutko, Paris, France

Ricco Maresca, New York, New York

PRICE

Untitled, 2011; Shino glazed stoneware, 1stdibs, $1,600

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