With clay as their medium, Alejandra Almuelle, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Terra Goolsby, Pat Johnson, Tammie Rubin, and Ariel Wood create fictional narratives, offer social commentary, and construct objects that defy easy categorization. Clay Matters reflects the remarkable diversity that the material offers including its mythologies, socio-political implications, ancestral traditions, and practical functionality
Alejandra Almuelle was born in Arequipa, Peru. She spent few years in Pizac in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, a center for ceramic making. Peru is a country in which the abundance of clay has made this medium a language of artistic expression. Clay is its own idiom, and being there, she began to speak it. After she moved to Austin, she started working with clay. Addressing the functionality of the medium as well as its sculptural expression has been equally important for her. She has participated in art fairs, galleries and museums with both pottery and sculpture.
Jennifer Ling Datchuk is an artist born in Warren, Ohio and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is an exploration of her layered identity – as a woman, a Chinese woman, as an “American,” as a third culture kid. Trained in ceramics, Datchuk works with porcelain and other materials often associated with traditional women’s work, such as textiles and hair, to discuss fragility, beauty, femininity, intersectionality, identity, and personal history. Datchuk holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. She has received grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, travel grant from Artpace, and the Linda Lighton International Artist Exchange Program to research the global migrations of porcelain and blue and white pattern decoration. She was awarded a residency through the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum to conduct her studio practice at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany and has participated in residencies at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China, Vermont Studio Center, European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. In 2017, she received the Emerging Voices award from the American Craft Council and in 2020 was named a United States Artist Fellow in Craft. She is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Texas State University and lives and maintains a studio practice in San Antonio, Texas.
Terra Goolsby is a Texas based artist and curator living and working in Austin, Texas. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she acquired an MFA in Sculpture and remained a Presidential Scholar for the duration of her stay. She also conducted independent research at Brown University with Gali Cohee, Department Head of Gender and Sexuality Studies, where she identified her obsession with de-construction of Meso American and contemporary mythologies. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a BFA in painting and sculpture. She has been an artist in residence at West Dean College of Sussex University in Chichester, England, Vermont Studio Center, and I-Park Foundation in New Hampshire. She has been the recipient of the $40,000 Presidential Scholarship at Rhode Island School of Design, Thantopolis Honorarium, Edward James Fellowship and Scholarship, Dimension Gallery Fellowship, and several grants. Her work has been exhibited in Texas, England, New York, Los Angeles, Rhode Island, Boston, and Connecticut, including the Dallas Contemporary Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University. She is one of the founders of Icosa Gallery at Canopy. She continues to work out of her studio in Austin, Texas.
Pat Johnson is a Texas-based ceramist living and working in Fayetteville, TX. She received her BFA in Ceramics from North Texas State University. Her work was included in 2004 juried CraftHouston traveling exhibit organized by the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts and in several of the 2013 NCECA conference exhibition in Houston. In 2014 she was selected to participate in The 35th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibition at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Arizona, the 56th Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center and the Texas Craft Biennial at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. She was on the short list for the 2014 Art Pace International Residency. Her work is included in the Lark Books publications, 500 Tiles and 500 Figures, Vol.II. She currently works as the Associate Curator of Library and Museum Collections at the Round Top Festival Institute in Round Top, TX.
Tammie Rubin is an artist whose sculptural practice considers the intrinsic power of objects as signifiers, wishful contraptions, and mythic relics. Using intricate motifs, Rubin delves into power of objects with themes concerning mapping, Black migration, magical thinking, longing, and identity. Rubin is the 2022 Tito’s Prize winner; her Big Medium solo exhibition is spring 2023. She received a BFA in both Ceramics and Art History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA in Ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle. Rubin has exhibited widely, selections include Project Row Houses, Houston, TX., the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY., George Washington Carver Museum, Austin, TX., Mulvane Art Museum, KS., Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN., The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, TX., Women & Their Work Gallery, Austin, TX., & Rivalry Projects, Buffalo, NY. She’s represented by Galleri Urbane, Dallas, TX., and C24 Gallery, New York, NY. Rubin’s artwork has received reviews in online and print publications such as Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, Glasstire, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Chronicle, Sightlines, fields, Conflict of Interest, Arts and Culture Texas, and Ceramics: Art & Perception. She founded Black Mountain Project along with fellow Austin-based artists Adrian Aguilera and Betelhem Makonnen, and she is a member of ICOSA Collective, a non-profit cooperative gallery. Born and raised in Chicago, Rubin lives in Austin, Texas where she is an Associate Professor of Ceramics & Sculpture at St. Edward’s University.
Ariel Wood is a Texas-based artist by way of California and Wisconsin. They received a BFA in printmaking and drawing from The University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2016, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Santa Reparata International School Of Art, in Florence in 2016, and their MFA in Sculpture from The University of Texas at Austin in 2022, where they were the recipient of the Lomis Slaughter, Jr. Endowment Scholarship In Sculpture and the Continuing College Fellowship. They have exhibited their work nationally and internationally in Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New York, and Florence, Italy.