Elaine Quave

Artist Statement

In my work I subjectively consider human physiology and psychology while objectively analyzing our connection/relationship to the natural world.

The human lens through which we experience the world is an inescapable circumstance. It compels one to see the world in relation to the self. Though our bodies are animal in nature, we perceive our minds as not, resulting in an irresolvable conflict that epitomizes the human condition. Scientific inquiry of our physical substance shows we don’t completely understand the human body. New research on microbes found in the human body reveals that humanity depends on a rich biodiversity of other living organisms.

We are currently living in a geological age referred to as the anthropocene. In this new age humans are potentially having more effect on the earth than ever before, relative to natural forces. Biodiversity is crashing at an alarming rate and we are left to figure out which species are important to preserve. We are gardening the wilderness, deciding how much to leave, where to leave it, and for what reason.

The work I make is a memento mori – a reminder of mortality - yet it serves as an expression of universal connectivity. In my art I want to lead the viewer to a place where the reflection of self can have a terrifying beauty and an ethereal sensation, a place where the familiar becomes unfamiliar, a place where we ponder the beauty of the world and recognize our inseparable connection to it.

-- Elaine Quave


Elaine Quave received a BFA in crafts from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and an MFA in ceramics at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She currently teaches ceramics at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH), where she was a graduate of the inaugural program of the residential high school. In addition to experience as a 3-D and ceramics instructor at Tyler, SCGSAH, and the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, SC, Mrs. Quave has also assisted for workshops at North Carolina’s Penland School of Craft and Pilchuck School of Glass in Washington. Elaine Quave is the 2015 recipient of the Regina Brown Teacher Development Award through the National K12 Ceramic Exhibition. Mrs. Quave’s work has been exhibited nationally at venues including the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Baltimore Clayworks, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Lee Gallery of Clemson University, and Thompson Gallery of Furman University.