Erin Paradis

Artist Statement

I habitually observe the natural and unnatural environments around me to absorb my surroundings and find the interesting shapes, objects, and compositions that seemingly ordinary spaces reveal to me. My ceramic work is a recollection of these spatial encounters, highlighting the spark of intrigue that occurs when we first become captivated by something new. I create work to acknowledge these moments I have in architectural and natural settings and question how I can create a physical space that promotes intellectual openness, a portal to curiosity, and creates pause. My way of exploring these moments is through drawing in space with ceramics; an impression of line, texture, and color. I have created a library of forms that I investigate in my studio through an evolution of renditions and interpretations. The arch is a recurring shape that I explore in my practice by uncovering ways that it can be built and formed. An arch frames the space around it in a particular way that I gravitate towards compulsively. Most recently, I have been considering the physical compositions that doorways, entryways, and staircases create. I have been exploring these spaces visually and conceptually. Our bodies shift into certain actions and our minds into certain thoughts depending on the spaces we enter. In a sense, passageways reference the space in between moments, thoughts, or periods of time. I am interested in examining these ideas and their significance personally. I use a variety of ceramic surfaces including underglaze, glaze, and colored clay. Through carving, cutting out elements, and building tactile details onto my sculptures, my work pulls in and out of space. The ranges of surfaces and textures allows for an expansive layering of visual elements, suggestive of the layering of imagery in physical spaces around us. I explore color palettes that reference significant spaces I have encountered and use warm and welcoming tones to draw viewers in. With the compilation of built ceramic forms, I am interested in the space they occupy and how layering and rearranging them can visually create new compositions. I materialize spatial encounters I have had in my installations with the hope that viewers find intrigue and perhaps ponder their significance and origin.


Erin Paradis is a ceramic sculptor, living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and her BFA from Alfred University. She has worked extensively as an artist, resident, business owner, and instructor at art centers and academic settings both nationally and internationally. Erin was a Lecturer in Ceramics and Sculpture from 2015-2020 at the University of Minnesota and instructs at Northern Clay Center. She received the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2017 and 2020, the Open Studio Fellowship through Franconia Sculpture Park in 2018, was a recipient of the 2019 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant through Northern Clay Center, and received the 2020 Outdoor Sculpture Artist Award through Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, MN. Most recently Paradis received the 2021 Early Career Project Grant through Forecast Public Arts and exhibited her show A Way Through at SOO Visual Art Center in Minneapolis, MN in June 2023.