My work tells cruel tales about the historical mistreatment of humanity and what’s left behind after terrible things happen. I shed light on dark topics. I am obsessed with the same creamy white, translucent porcelain that kings and emperors demanded for their personal dinnerware. My sculptures are strictly nonfunctional, narrative focused and research based.
Due to the natural beauty of the clay’s whiteness, color is often excluded. In some instances, touches of shiny clear glaze or gold luster are used sparingly. Surfaces are stretched, cracked and purposefully misshaped for an otherworldly look. Other surfaces mimic thick, indulgently smooth cake frosting topped off with touches of molten gold.
My goal is to create psychologically challenging works that force the viewer to contemplate injustice. Topics include mental asylums, silencing women, school shootings, the worldwide refugee crisis and domestic violence.
Gold-masked women constricted in straight jackets, jumbo teeth delicately wrapped in gauze, children costumed in phantasmagorical masks used as protective disguises, a reliquary honoring young shooting victims, women in iron bridles, ghostly skeletal ships and an arsenal of household items used for self defense are manifestations of my commentary.
I don’t choose to make the sculptures. There are no preliminary drawings. Quite simply, they make themselves. I choose to remember that silence is the soundtrack of repression.
-- Kimberly Chapman
Porcelain sculptor Kimberly Chapman was a curious child who grew up in Ohio making unusual things. In the sixties she made rubbery bugs and worms with Mattel’s Incredible Edibles – carefully watching the gel turn into permanent objects in small, heated molds. Today, she explores more disturbing themes using creamy white porcelain – a much more finicky medium than gel.With undergraduate and graduate degrees in marketing, she promoted colleges and corporations for three decades before enrolling in The Cleveland Institute of Art. There, she was awarded multiple merit scholarships due to her non- functional, narrative sculptures. Upon graduation, Kimberly won the school’s most prestigious prize, The Agnes Gund Traveling Award.Her goal is to create expressive works that force the viewer to contemplate universal cruelty and injustice. Kimberly’s ghostlike sculptures shed light on dark subjects including insane asylums, silencing women, school shootings, the worldwide refugee crisis and domestic violence. Gold-masked women in straight jackets, jumbo teeth delicately wrapped in gauze, children costumed in phantasmagorical masks used as protective disguises, women in face bridles, and ghostly skeletal ships with star gazing refugees are manifestations of her research and commentary.Kimberly has been included in more than two dozen curated and juried shows since her 2017 graduation. In early 2020 her first solo show, “hush,” opened at the John J. McDonough Museum of Contemporary Art, Youngstown, Ohio. Most recently her work was selected for: The Erie Art Museum’s “97th Nicole & Harry Martin Annual Spring Show; (Erie, PA)” The Ohio Craft Museum’s “Best of 2020 Exhibition” (Columbus, OH); Artist Archives of the Western Reserve’s “Annual Members Exhibition” (Cleveland, OH); and Group 10 Gallery’s “7th Annual Regional Juried Exhibition” (Kent, OH).She was featured in: The Cleveland Arts Network Journal website, Mar. 2020, “Profiles in Courage: Kimberly Chapman, ‘hush;’” Cleveland Magazine’s Community Leader, Feb. 2020, “Discovering the Artist Within;” Northeast Ohio’s Canvas Magazine, “2019 Who’s Next Issue;” and in the Dec. 2018 national Ceramics Monthly Magazine, “Becoming Grandma and Graduate.” Kimberly was also selected as a presenter at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Annual 2018 Exhibition. She is a Cleveland Arts Prize trustee and serves on the executive committee of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Alumni Council.