Nathan Murray

Artist Statement

I use figurative ceramic sculpture to explore nuanced expressions of race, culture and identity as they relate to governmental policy decisions, institutional racism and social inequity. Through social engagement with marginalized communities, I seek to build relationships centered on communication, empathy and mutual support. Much of my current work uses these experiences as the framework to address challenging social justice issues though the humanizing lens of personal stories.

My experience as a black man, growing up in a racially diverse family, has shown me that what we have in common far outweighs our differences. Thus, my work seeks to contribute to the important discourse needed to move towards a more equitable and unified society. Specifically, I use figurative ceramic sculpture to represent the many complexities of people and their experiences. I use clay as my primary medium of artistic expression. With it, I use gesture, expression, surface design and visual metaphor to create life-like dynamic representations of people and ideas. Subsequently, I present the individual sculptures as a bridge to one person’s experience. Together, my work serves as a microcosm to engage with larger societal issues.

-- Nathan Murray


Nathan Murray is a socially engaged artist and educator living in Lincoln, NE. His clay figures often deal with contemporary issues of race, culture, and identity. Nathan began his academic career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2009. He later accepted a graduate teaching assistantship to attend the University of Florida. After graduating in 2015, he returned to Nebraska for a residency at the Lux Center for the Arts. Building on his MFA work, he continues to engage social issues directly in the community.

Nathan exhibits work nationally and has been widely published in magazines, books and online. Subsequently, work from his exhibition Color Theory was featured in the March, 2017 issue of Ceramics Monthly Magazine. Nathan remains actively involved in the larger ceramic community through the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, taking part in panel discussions and exhibitions.