Wade Tullier

Artist Statement

My work is inspired by my unsettling experience as a forensic sculptor and researcher. The imagery I use traces back to the experience of working to identify the unknown, the stories I was told as a child, and growing up in southern Louisiana. ​As a sculptor, ​the objects I create draw from this history of violence, death, and destruction at the hands of natural disasters and man-made catastrophes.

I am interested in how my work acts like characters in oral histories: they are elusive and capable of transforming but always recognizable. ​My ceramic sculptures depict animals, figures, phenomena, everyday objects, and interactions with the natural world that balance pleasure, pain, danger, and awe. While each remains familiar and is easily identifiable, the clusters of objects remain ambiguous, echoing the layered structures of memory. I am intent on recreating an interior world and history by working intuitively and enabling new connections to form, physically and mentally, between multiple objects. In this way, the ceramic assemblages rely on our innate ability as storytellers to construct meaning and narrative building upon the power of belief and personal myth. It is the excavation of memory through the process of storytelling that drives my work.

-- Wade Tullier


Wade Tullier (b. 1988) is a Detroit-based visual artist working primarily in ceramics. Raised in southern Louisiana, he holds a BFA in Ceramics from Louisiana State University and received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2017. Tullier has shown nationally and internationally, most recently presenting work at Devening Projects in Chicago, Iceland, Germany, and Detroit. Tullier is expected to release a collaborative book project titled Protection Rituals with Drum Machine Editions along with a limited-edition print series in Spring 2020.

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