Holly Hanessian

Artist Statement

I want my city neighbor, the farmer in the next county and the contemporary curator at the museum two time zones away to view my art projects with an appreciation of how we are all connected to each other. Each of these perspectives offer differing values and experiences. If they can relate to the artwork and move beyond their individual disparities, then the art I have created has done its requisite job.

My artwork is tied to systems and the human experience, our senses, social strata structures and historical repeated actions that systemically (like genocide) tie us together. The projects vary from our social behavior and need to touch, to how food insecurity is propagated by inequity in farming systems, how genocide has been repeated throughout the beginning of human history and how the pharmaceutical industry has whetted our appetite for using prescription pills for any physical discomfort.

Using clay as my material choice provides me a chameleon-like option. It can be like dry like a sun-caked riverbed or when wet, is sensual and moist like mud, act sterile when high-fired like a porcelain sink. It can provide information beyond sight, conduct the temperature, embedded as a smell or trigger the desire to be touched as a soothing sensation on the skin.

-- Holly Hanessian


Holly Hanessian has shown her artwork in extensively in the USA and internationally in Italy, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, England and Canada. Residencies include the Archie Bray Foundation, Watershed for the Ceramic Arts, Banff Centre the for the Arts, International Ceramic Research Center: Guldagageraand, Skaelskor, Denmark and Tainan University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan. She is a Professor of Art at Florida State University, the current President of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. She has written reviews on exhibitions, essays for books, Craft, Technology. She is a member of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective and Artaxis.org.