Kimberly LaVonne

Artist Statement

With this body of work I focused on creating a series of ceramic objects that explore notions of remembrance, veneration and devotion. My studio practice blends themes of anatomical imagery with occult iconography; I wanted this series of work to continue in that vein, as inconspicuous reliquaries. I chose utilitarian forms such as platters, pitchers, bowls and vases because of their ability to integrate into the home. The surface of each vessel is transformed from a simple vase for flowers into one depicting an invented saint surrounded by a gold halo or rays. Other components within the collaged imagery may include teeth, organs, flowers and food. Repeated rows of teeth reference my fascination with the bones of saints in reliquaries and their decorative application within crypts. They act as small mementos to the whole and have a figurative quality of their own. Intestinal imagery hovers at the edges and borders of compositions alluding to the duality of the viscera folded within us not only as anatomy but also as the essence of who we are. The floral motifs evoke a sense of celebration in life and sentimentality in death. Papaya and patacones are woven in as a nod to my Panamanian heritage and the myths that sparked my curiosity and desire to seek out the preternatural in regards to the body and death. By bringing these concepts into the home via functional and familiar objects I hope to integrate ideas surrounding death and how, or through what we are able to mourn, commemorate and devote space for those we wish to remember.

-- Kimberly LaVonne


Kimberly LaVonne received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Painting from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg in 2011. After completing a post-baccalaureate at Indiana University she entered into the Masters program, receiving her Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics from IU in 2015. Since then she has completed two artist residencies at the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemét, Hungary, presented her work and research at the Death, Art and Anatomy conference at the University of Winchester, UK and completed the Charlotte Street Studio Foundation Residency in Kansas City, MO. Her artwork has been on exhibit at Kiosk Gallery in Kansas City, the Fredric Jameson Gallery at Duke University in Durham, the University of Winchester in Hampshire, England, and the Kápolna Galéria in Kecskemét, Hungary. She currently lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri.