Molly Rivera

Artist Statement

The objects that surround us tell a story of our past, and act as physical stand ins for a person, place, or experience no longer present. My work explores the significance of objects and how we use them to preserve our memories and make them tangible. Memory is ephemeral and changes over time, simultaneously growing weaker and stronger. I use clay to accentuate this relationship; the permanence of fired clay contrasts the impermanence of our memories and allows me to touch on both preservation and decay. Inspired by my personal narrative, I recreate specific objects of significance by hand. This results in subtle variations of the original, much like the changes in our memory over time. Each piece becomes a fabrication of an original object, just as our memories are a fabrication of the original experience. Themes of storage, disintegration, alteration, and addition reflect the processes involved in memory formation and the effect of time on our recall. Through this process, I am exploring how much our identity is reliant on our memories, how we preserve our past in order to inform our present, and the ways in which our objects serve as characters in our narrative of self.

-- Molly Rivera


Molly Rivera grew up throughout the Great Lakes region of the Midwest, where she received her BFA in sculpture and ceramics at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2017. She is currently attending the University of Montana to obtain an MFA in ceramics, where she has taught courses in the Fine Arts department. Additionally, she has instructed several community classes at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and co-directed and curated exhibitions for a local nonprofit gallery, FrontierSpace. Her work has been exhibited nationally at galleries such as Northern Clay Center, The Clay Studio of Missoula, and the Archie Bray Foundation, and is part of permanent collections at the Tweed Museum of Art and the Montana Museum of Art and Culture. Often autobiographical, her work explores the effects of time on memories and our attempts to preserve them.