Valerie Zimany

Artist Statement

In my current work, I visually examine complex relationships between the East and West, nature and technology, and intimate and public worlds through the lens of my American background and extended education in Japan. Borrowed and appropriated images from the histories of art, nature, and society transform my surfaces, and I develop forms that suggest symbolic intersections between these different cultures. Distantly familiar archetypes from 1970’s electronics and design, traditional textile patterns, vintage enameled china, and manga or graffiti overlap to create seemingly improbable combinations. By clashing colors, patterns, and imagery I force relationships or question compatibility, and parallel a feeling of wandering out of place at just the right time.


Currently an Assistant Professor of Art, Ceramics, at Clemson University, Clemson, SC, Valerie Zimany received her BFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA. After completing her MFA studies at Kanazawa College of Art as a Fulbright Fellow and Japanese Government Scholar, Valerie spent three years on a city-sponsored residency at the Utatsuyama Craft Workshop in Kanazawa, Japan. She was recently awarded a second Fulbright grant by the U.S. Department of Education for her proposal Porcelain Fever: Contemporary Kutani Practitioners and Processes, and returned to Kanazawa as a guest researcher at the Institute of Art and Design, Kanazawa College of Art in Summer and Fall 2011.

Valerie’s work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the 9th International Ceramic Competition Mino, the 5th World Ceramic Biennale Korea, the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena, MT, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, the Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA, the 701cca Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia, SC, and more.

Her works are in multiple public and private collections. Valerie was named an American Craft Council Searchlight Artist for 2007, a Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist for 2008, and a Finalist for the Niche Award in 2011 and the Society for Contemporary Craft’s Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize in 2013. Besides exhibiting, Valerie’s work can be seen in the Lark Books 500 Ceramic Sculptures and 500 Prints on Clay, and is the subject of “Valerie Zimany: Recasting The Japanese Tradition,” a full feature article in the November 2008 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Also acting as an independent curator, Valerie has organized concurrent exhibitions for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts including: Method: Multiple and Episodic, Clustered, and Migrating (NCECA 2011), To Wander Out of Place: Artists and Asia (NCECA 2012), and Valerie Zimany: Porcelain Fever (NCECA 2013). Internationally, she directed the exhibition Porcelain Fever: Contemporary Artists and Kutani Now in cooperation with the non-profit art space ArtGummi, Kanazawa City Hall, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Japan. The exhibition was accompanied by a critical catalogue and subsequently featured as a lecture in the programming for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art’s 2014 conference in Milwaukee, WI.


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