Posted by Mary Cloonan, Programs Director

Another vibrant combination for our demonstrating artists is Patti Warashina.  With Lauren Grossman, they will collaborate on a singular narrative work, an amalgam of their distinct styles and techniques.  Such controlled chaos usually produces intriguing results and should not be missed.

Patti Warashina, retired professor emerita from the University of Washington, has a vibrant career of narrative works celebrating and championing women.  With sly humor and graceful strength, her figures challenge patriarchal rule.

An exhausting array of work composes her career….mischievous white porcelain figures battle the world with cutlery and objects of domestic constraint, towering figures that hybridize people in a cubistic way, feminine busts echoing an ancient world, cartoon-headed commentaries on political greed and misdeeds, elegant ladies clothed in spare pallet of white, red and black just scratch the surface.

Patti has been awarded several National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awards.  She received a Lifetime Achievement Award/Woman of the Year: (Twining Humber Award) given by Artist Trust; Seattle, WA in 200l.  She became an honorary member of NCECA in 2006. In 2009 she was chosen as a Regis Master, by the Northern Clay Center & Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN.  In 2012, American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA hosted a retrospective exhibition “Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom” which then traveled onto Bellevue Arts Museum.  Numerous interviews, reviews and images in periodicals and press exist and are there for the Googling.  Go down that rabbit hole, it’s a great ride.

Patti was one of the first artists I took note of while studying ceramics in college. I was drawn to the figures, but more so the stories they told. The surreal fever dream in her tableaus allowed me to see the possibility of smaller works becoming something epic.  My love of puns was vindicated in her Car Kiln series, and I was hooked. We stand on the shoulders of our giants to survey our ceramic kingdom.

Paired with Patti is another Seattle artist and University of Washington alum, Lauren Grossman.  Her mixed media sculptures explore the shifting interpretations of Judeo-Christian imagery in contemporary culture.  Crucifix forms altered and fitted with tubing for water or flame, lambs of resin, female forms filled with salt.  Birds whose bodies become a cage, with text morphing into the filigree of their confinement.  Wheeled bases implying toy or archaic office chair.  Some sculptures are kinetic and invite viewer participation.

Grossman employs a variety of materials, clay, glass, metal, found objects, sound and fire.  Her choice of materials also adds a layer of metaphor to the works, reclaimed industrial scrap, bearing the marks of use and age lend their patina to the story being told.

Reviews of her work can be found in Art In America, Sculpture, American Ceramics. She has received such honors as a Flintridge Foundation Award, two Groot Foundation recognition awards, a Seattle Artists Award, and two Kohler Arts/Industry residencies.

Categories: 2016 Conference, Featured

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