Erin Paradis

Artist Statement

I habitually look towards the natural and built environments around me to absorb my surroundings and find shapes, objects, and compositions that seemingly ordinary spaces reveal to me. My ceramic work is a recollection of these spatial encounters; an impression of line, texture, and color. These revelations can occur anywhere and at any time; when confronted with awe inspiring spaces like in Bryce Canyon National Park or even during quiet moments on a neighborhood walk. These moments allow me to practice mindfulness and to question the meaning of what I am observing. What was the purpose of that specific structure? Who else has passed through this space? How does my presence change the way a space is perceived? In my studio practice, these questions and correlating imagery are translated into sculptural ceramic objects. I summon these emotions and create work that provides a similar physical and mental space for myself and viewers. Through dissecting photographs of recognizable imagery, I find unique moments in those spaces that I want to explore in clay. By using a variety of ceramic surfaces, there is an expansive layering of visual elements on my sculptures that are suggestive of the layering of imagery in physical spaces around us. I explore recurring ideas and objects fully, creating different renditions in varying dimensions and complexity. I feel the most challenge and excitement when working large and I aspire to create more works that have to be walked through and around, encompassing viewers in their presence. Through installations of my sculptural forms, I abstractly materialize significant spatial encounters I have had in hopes that viewers find intrigue and 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 Bloomington Center for the Arts and 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 exhibted her show Towards Veracity at the Inez Greenberg Gallery in Bloomington, MN in August 2021.