Lynn Duryea

Artist Statement

The ordinary is quite extraordinary. Through elemental shape and form, my reference is to architectural and mechanical elements as well as large scale industrial objects and sites. The representation of function is in an allusive and enigmatic sense, suggestive of the past. The objects are evocative of abandoned sites of human activity, generating feelings of melancholy and stillness.

When viewed from a distance, these objects present insistent profile and reductive form, images of simplicity and stillness. Closer consideration reveals a sense of history, traces of transformation that generate narratives of accretion and deterioration. Surfaces are generated by means of building up and wearing away, a layering and removal of materials that implies processes occurring over time, suggesting previous use and depicting the effects of decay, erosion and weathering.

Through a vocabulary of form of softened geometry, I investigate subtlety and nuance, and the method and manner of connection. Simplicity and clarity function as an expression, and as an invitation to contemplate the complexity and richness that can exist in the apparently straightforward. Subtle shifts and changes, seeing images from slightly differing angles and views, lends a depth to the consideration of objects.

Transition zones, borders, places where one reality shifts to another, are compelling in their quiet drama. Great energy exists along an edge. I grew up in a small town on the extreme end of Long Island, New York, knowing the feeling of a littoral, a place where land stopped and seemingly endless water began. Land and the landscape have been encountered in visceral as well as visual ways. The nature and essence of the feelings generated by a particular place are as inspiring to me as the structure and color of land, buildings and vegetation.

Joy in the physicality of constructing is part of what compels me to create objects. I am interested in how structure as well as the methods of construction and assembly can become part of the visual language of an object. More than serving a compositional function, for me these elements become part of a record of making, connections in time as well as material.


Professor Emerita of Art at Appalachian State University in Boone NC, Lynn Duryea was a studio artist working in Maine before earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Florida. She now works in Maine full-time, in South Portland and on Deer Isle.

Lynn is a Founding Trustee of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and was the Program Coordinator and Artist-in-Residence for The Watershed Workshop for People with HIV/AIDS. She is a co-founder of Sawyer Street Studios, an artist-owned ceramic facility in South Portland, Maine. She is a recipient of the Maine Crafts Association 2012 Master Craft Award, and was the first visual artist to receive Portland, Maine’s YWCA Women of Achievement Award. Lynn was an Emerging Artist at the 2004 NCECA Conference (National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts). She has received grants from Appalachian State’s University Research Council and the university’s Foundation Fellows, the Maine Arts Commission and Watauga County Arts Council.

Lynn’s work is represented in numerous publications including Discovery: Fifty Years of Craft and Transformation at Haystack, Carl Little, ed., The Best of Pottery edited by Jonathan Fairbanks and Angela Fina, Dry Glazes by Jeremy Jernegan and a cover article by Glen Brown in Ceramics Monthly, “Lynn Duryea: The Energy of Edges”. Lynn’s work has been exhibited extensively. Group shows include the 2016 Maine Biennial at Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland ME, Contemporary New England Ceramics at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester NH, and International Emerging Ceramic Artists Invitational Exhibition, FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums, Fuping, Xian, CHINA. Her work is in the museum’s permanent collection.