Ceramics is, quite literally, an earthy medium. Clay, that humblest of materials, is dug from the earth, pushed and pulled with human hands, then tempered with fire. Like Adam and Eve in the Genesis story, ceramic works are formed from the stuff of earth into something beautiful. In the hands of sculptor Allison Luce, clay can be graceful, elegant, funny, erotic, fragile, and lovely. For work that doesn't directly represent the human form, Luce's sculpture bears an extraordinary connection with the human body. Her works play with floral, vegetable, and aquatic forms, and all have a luminous, organic beauty that invites us to slow down and look. Luce’s signature is a surprising technique of painting directly on the fired clay, most often in color palettes that seem to catch and reflect light—with results that can make clay look almost shockingly ethereal.
Read an excerpt of Linda Stratford's essay on Allison's work in Image issue 80 here.
Allison Luce explores the ephemeral nature of existence and the mystery of eternity through her ceramic sculptures and monoprints. Luce graduated with dual BFA degrees in Painting and Art History from Ohio University and her MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. She currently lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina where she is a studio artist and an adjunct art instructor. She has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions internationally and her work is included in private collections. She has been a resident artist at the International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskør, Denmark, the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin in Germany, and the Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics at the Medalta International Artists in Residence in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. In 2012, her work has reviewed in The Charlotte Observer and she was awarded a Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte. In 2013, her piece, “Ancient Expanse,” was exhibited at the Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
In the fall of 2013, I installed my piece, “Ancient Expanse,” at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn as part of The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Created in Denmark during 2009, “Ancient Expanse” began as a site-specific ceramic installation comprised of hundreds of small hand-made ceramic objects and photographed at the beach in the town of my residency. “Ancient Expanse” explores the boundaries between perception, reality, time and space. Over the span of four years, I have continued adding pieces to the installation and presenting them as large wall drawings in galleries. At the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, the installation formed a pattern in the fountain behind the Discovery House. The piece was playful and engaging and caused the viewer to stop and think about what they are seeing. There is an element of surprise as people discover that they are not actually looking at real objects but sculptural forms that reference nature.
Earlier in 2014, I returned to Bluffton High School in Bluffton, South Carolina as a resident artist and facilitator in the completion of the tile mural project started the prior fall. This residency was sponsored by the Island School Council for the Arts and the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry as part of The Public Art Exhibition. Here, I worked with the students to arrange and install the tiles that were created during the first part of my residency in October 2013. The tile mural project is a collaboration between artist, students and the art department and was inspired by a class trip to the Honey Horn Coastal Discovery Museum to see The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head. I have enjoyed working with the ceramic students and the art department and am excited with the outcome of the project.
This summer I will be a resident artist at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences for three weeks as the recipient of The Antinori Fellowship for Ceramic Artists. I will use this time to further develop the “Primoris Ortis” series and to experiment with new surface treatments for my sculptures.