ELLEN SCHŐN is Adjunct Faculty in Fine Arts and Clay Studio Supervisor at the Art Institiute of Boston at Lesley University, where she has taught ceramics and 3-D courses since 2002. Schön received a BA from Marlboro College (Ceramics and Perceptual Psychology) and an MFA in Ceramics from Boston University’s Program in Artisanry. She has exhibited in numerous shows in the United States and is a past recipient of The Artist Foundation Fellowship from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Schön has organized interdisciplinary, thematic group exhibitions in non-profit venues in the Boston area, recently co-curating: MINDmatters at Laconia Gallery, Boston, Vessel as Metaphor, and, Waterfall, a benefit show for WaterAid, both at the Nave Gallery, Somerville. Schön’s interest in international artist collaboration and exchange has led her to travel extensively in Europe and elsewhere, participating in international artist symposia/residencies in Finland, Croatia, Hungary, Turkey, Israel, Germany, and Malaysia.
The ceramic vessel form has intrinsic metaphorical resonance as an object. Physically structured with necks, shoulders, bellies, and feet, ceramic vessels can evoke a feeling of human gesture and stance; they also reveal deep aspects of human experience. I have always been interested in this quality of ceramic vessels to point to something beyond themselves—to function as metaphor.
My Font series explores the ceramic vessel as a well or womb, with possibilities of both fecundity and barrenness. The elongated posture of Cycladic idols and the scarified texture of Yoruba terracotta heads have been particular influences on my Bottle and Lidded Vessel forms.
Recent explorations in new materials have opened further possibilities of form, scale, and meaning. Whether working in clay or other 3-D media, I attempt to find and breathe life into form. The material directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship.