Varnish Fine Art
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Vance Cearley


About the Artists:
1984-1989 San Jose State University, San Jose CA Cabrillo College, Aptos CA San Jose Community College, San Jose CA


2008 – Present
Self-employed Sculptor/Artisan Oakland, CA
Metal fabrication, bronze casting, design and art consultation.

Clients include: Ironside Restaurant (San Francisco, CA), Donna Marie (San Diego, CA) Michael Christian-Artist (Installation of Michael Christian’s monumental steel artwork “Elevation” at the Burning Man Arts Festival ) , Grant Irish Metalwork ( collaboration on design and fabrication of architectural metalwork, Oakland, CA)

Archie Held Studios/Center Star Studio Assistant Richmond, CA
Large scale sculpture fabrication, primarily of water features, in stainless steel, bronze and glass. Structural design, pattern development, project team leadership, site prep and installation. Primary fabricator on many large-scale works including “Millennium Bowl” Concord CA and “Entry” Oakland CA.

THERM Co-Founder/Artist Oakland, CA
In collaboration with David Andres, founded a high-performance fire sculpture arts group composed of artists, technicians, engineers, inventors, metal-workers and performers dedicated to exploring fire as an artistic medium and creating sculptural forms that manipulate and shape the flame. Fire sculptures designed and built by Vance Cearley for THERM exhibitions include “Stentor,” “Osstot,” “Blade” series, “Sprout" series.

Apex Foundry Owner/Operator Oakland, CA
Fabrication, bronze casting and metal arts.

Artworks Foundry Metal Shop Floor Mgr/Artist Asst Berkeley, CA
Welding, fabrication, bronze casting. Assistant to John Fick (1992) on Fletcher Benton sculpture, “Double Folded Circle Ring” (36'), installed Brussels, Belgium. Worked closely with such artists as Bruce Beasley and Steven De Staebler on bronze castings.

Commissions (Selected)

Black Rock Arts Foundation “Exxothermia” San Francisco, CA
Fire and ice sculpture funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation for Burning Man exhibition.
Black Rock Arts Foundation “Extra Small Array” San Francisco, CA
Collection of THERM artwork funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation for Burning Man exhibition.
Black Rock Arts Foundation “ThermoKraken” San Francisco, CA
Large-scale fire sculpture funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation. This artwork has been exhibited extensively in the U.S. and Europe, including to many Crucible and Burning Man events, the Coachella music festival, VirginFest in Baltimore MD, Robodoc in Amsterdam and many THERM performances .

Exhibitions (Selected)

Cuttings, Lanesplitters Pub, Emeryville, CA
10th Annual Fire Arts Festival, the Crucible, Oakland, CA
9th Annual Fire Arts Festival, the Crucible, Oakland, CA
5 Year Anniversary Show, Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
Solo Show, Lanesplitters, Berkeley, CA
Exxothermia prototype first shown at Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
Off the Wall! Holiday Group Show, Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
Bay Area Sculpture Show, Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
The Fire Garden featuring THERM, Herbst Pavillion, San Francisco, CA
Fire Garden featuring THERM performance, the Crucible, Berkeley, CA
1st Annual Fire Arts Festival, the Crucible, Oakland, CA


“You’re Fired!” San Francisco Chronicle, 15 July 2010; “Art, Music Afire in West Oakland,” Contra Costa Times, 2 July 2009; Sano, Andrew. “The Thermodynamics of Art.” Leonardo V.40 N.4, Aug. 2007: 347; Hartwell, Lane. “Festival of Fire Celebrates Truly Dangerous Art.” Wired 18 July 2007; “Unique Festival Lights Up West Oakland,” KTVU, 18 July 2007 < >; “Playing With Fire,” San Francisco Chronicle, 18 July 2003; “Into the Crucible,” San Francisco Weekly, 27 June 2001; “Nightcrawler: Feast of Fire,” San Francisco Weekly, 26 January 2000.

I have lived and worked as a Bay Area artist for 25 years, with expertise and broad recognition in metal sculpture from small-scale bronze castings to large-scale steel and fire commissions. My artistic pursuits also include two-dimensional work in the form of a series of collages, portraying concerns for the future through the mixing of improbable mythic deities and visions of present problems.


16 Jessie Street, #C120, San Francisco, CA 94105 (415)433-4400

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