The Bay Area has a longstanding tradition of radical experimentation in ceramic arts and, in recent years, many of the region’s most exciting young artists have chosen clay as their medium. This exhibition highlights three emerging artists working in this space, exploring a range of contemporary interventions in ceramic tradition.
Nicki Green, Sahar Khoury and Maria Paz all speak about the respect they have for ceramic’s durability, elasticity and strength, and are deeply engaged with the legacy of Bay Area ceramics. However, their practices represent unique modes of ceramic intervention. Green uses clay to create objects that explore history, ritual and the aesthetics of otherness. Khoury, meanwhile, engages in a practice of “creative repair” to create sculptures and installations that incorporate clay with cement, metal, textile and papier-mâché as well as rejected or found materials. Paz, finally, archives her personal and family history on ceramic vessels as an act of resilience and resistance.
Highlighting a wide range of recent works, Ceramic Interventions shows that clay remains an exciting and vital medium for today’s emerging artists.
About the Artists
Nicki Green is a transdisciplinary artist working primarily in clay. Originally from New England, she completed her BFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and her MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018. Her sculptures, ritual objects and various flat works explore topics of history preservation, conceptual ornamentation and aesthetics of otherness. Green has exhibited her work internationally, notably at the New Museum, New York; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Rockelmann & Partner Gallery, Berlin, Germany. She has contributed texts to numerous publications including a recent piece in Duke University Press’ Transgender Studies Quarterly and a piece in Fermenting Feminism, Copenhagen. In 2019, Green was a finalist for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award, a recipient of an Arts/Industry Residency from the John Michael Kohler Art Center, among other awards. Green lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sahar Khoury is an artist based in Oakland, California. Khoury makes sculptures that integrate abstraction, personal and political symbols, and an intuitive sensitivity to site. Experimenting with juxtapositions of found or fabricated items with more familiar artist materials such as clay and papier-mâché, she continues to develop an idiosyncratic approach, with a primary commitment to material enquiry. She received her BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 1996 and her MFA From UC Berkeley in 2013. She was the recipient of The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 2019 biannual SECA Art Award and the 2018 Triennial Exhibition, Bay Area Now 8 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Khoury’s work has been exhibited at SFMOMA, YBCA, Oakland Museum of California, The Wattis Institute, UC Berkeley Art Museum, Rebecca Camacho (SF) and CANADA (NY). Khoury’s work has been written about in the New Yorker, Art Review, and Hyperallergic.
Maria Paz (b. Quilpue, Chile) is a self- taught sculptor based in Oakland, California. Her ceramic sculptures serve as archival objects, often exploring the bond broken with her home country and how her experience as an immigrant in the United States has shaped a multiplicity of identities within her. Recently, Paz has exhibited work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), San Jose Institute of Contemporary Arts (San Jose, CA), Pt. 2 Gallery (Oakland, CA), and Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA). Paz has held workshops at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA) and was a finalist for the 2019-2020 TOSA Studio Award. She was awarded the Bed Stuy Arts Residency in Brooklyn, New York and is currently preparing for a group exhibition focused on community healing at Part 2 Gallery (Oakland, CA).
Co-curated by Kate Eilertsen, Acting Executive Director, Andrea Saenz Williams, Director of Education & Civic Engagement, and Twyla Ruby, Curatorial Associate.