Kirstin Willders ( She/her )

Artist Statement

My work is concerned with structures, the sacred, the senses, and the sublime. I utilize architectural foundation as an entry point to invisible structures, including social constructs, personal identity, notions of façade, and material hierarchy. The traditional function of the classical structures in my work is often subverted or manipulated through design, material choice, and/or installation. I minimize architectural elements to a scale in direct relationship with the corporeal form. Using architectural framework as a surrogate, I draw a direct connection between our somatic relationship to structured space and how our orientation within it affects perspective, experience, and meaning.

I seek to imbue my work with an agency that extends far beyond my own fingertips. Sensory information such as scent and light push the work further forward where I can no longer reach. Like a physical, proprioceptive experience within a soaring architectural space, light and scent are encompassing and unavoidable. These sensations extend the gesture of the work into multiple dimensions of comprehension and in/tangibility. It is through these portals that the sacred & mystical realms can be accessed.

I want to strip away the superficial layers.

I want to reconstruct the canon.

I want to find meaning in exalted nothingness.

I want to be true to my perversions.

I want to move forward, not proceed straight ahead.

I want to prostrate myself at the altar of heresy without undermining my reverence.

I don’t need to know, but I want to understand.

-- Kirstin Willders


Kirstin Willders is a multi-disciplinary artist working in wheel-thrown ceramics, light, and mixed materials. Her work is concerned with structures, the sacred, the sublime, and the senses. She utilizes canonical architectural structure as an entry point to social structures, personal identity, and proprioceptive experience. Somatic presence and sensory engagement are integral to her work. With a background in both ceramics and art history, Kirstin’s studio practice is rooted in material and historical research and has been significantly impacted by extended periods of time spent studying in Italy. Kirstin received a BFA in ceramics and a BA in art history from Kent State University in 2012. She went on to earn an MA in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University’s Graduate Program in Renaissance Art in 2017. In 2020 she graduated from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University with an MFA in ceramic art. She was recently named one of twelve recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Student Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center.