Lauren Mabry

Artist Statement

I make painterly, abstract, ceramic art. I'm a calculated risk-taker with a keen attraction to color, movement, and material. The transformative properties of clay and glaze drive my ongoing compulsion to make, play, and experiment with surface. I'm instinctively allured by the sumptuous qualities of glaze and it has quickly become the focus of my work.

The absence of representation in my work allows the marks, brushstrokes, and color to communicate. A mixture of emotions, from cheery to ominous, comes forth through drips, swipes, and splashes of color that vie for attention. I create energy through formal dualities. For example, aggressive and passive elements are adjacent to one another. Bold hues intermingle with quiet tints and shades. The surfaces sometimes look weathered and aged while at the same time appearing colorfully lush and wet. There is a sense of immediacy to the mark making, and at moments, a sense of play.

My work communicates directly through its formal and aesthetic qualities because I focus heavily on basic considerations like color, contrast, and movement. It is best understood in relationship to abstract painting and shares many similar threads with PostMinimalist and Process Art. I exploit the intrinsic qualities of ceramic material, producing works that are warm, seductive, and surprising. Ultimately, my work is a synthesis of intuitive, expressive surfaces and elemental forms. The completed surfaces may look effortless, but in fact they are the result of my long-term exploration of the physical and chemical behavior of ceramic materials. The forms I paint on are still, like silence, so the colors clash and resound with a kind of musical timbre, flowing with movement and creating rich, hypnotic tones and textures.


Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Lauren Mabry is currently living and working as a studio artist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a long-term resident at The Clay Studio. She received her BFA in ceramics from Kansas City Art Institute in 2007 and her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2012. Mabry has work in permanent collections at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS), The Sheldon Museum of Art (Lincoln, NE), and The Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts (Helena, MT). Her exhibitions include national and international venues including The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.