Betty Woodman (1930â€“2018)
Artist Betty Woodman, a sculptor known for ceramic works that are playful yet rigorous combinations of, among other things, Etruscan sculpture, Egyptian art, SĂ¨vres porcelain, and Henri Matisse, has died.
Woodman was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1930. She described her first encounter with clay in a high school art class, according to an interview with Priscilla Frank in theÂ Huffington Post, as â€śsort of like magic . . . We were given some clay and using our hands we could just make it into a shape. The first thing I ever made was a pitcher. As far as I was concerned that was what I wanted to do. It fell into my hands.â€ť She studied pottery at Alfred Universityâ€™s School for American Craftsmen, graduating in 1950. In 1952 Woodman traveled to Italy, where traditional forms of earthenware, such as majolica, made a deep impression upon her. Since then, she had spent a portion of every year living there with her husband, the artist George Woodman, who died last March. (The Woodmans are a famous artist family: Their daughter, the late Francesca Woodman, was a photographer; their son, Charles Woodman, who is still living, is an electronic artist. A documentary about the clan,Â The Woodmans, was released in 2010.)
Betty Woodman has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including â€śFlorentine Interiorsâ€ť (2017) at Galerie Hubert Winter in Vienna; â€śTheatre of the Domesticâ€ť (2016) at the ICA in London; â€śInterior Viewsâ€ť (2014) at Galerie Francesca Pia in Zurich; and â€śOf Botticelliâ€ť (2013) at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi in Berlin. Her last New York solo exhibition was in 2016 at Salon 94â€”the gallery represents herâ€”and was titled â€śBreakfast At The Seashore Lunch In Antella.â€ť â€śThe Art of Betty Woodman,â€ť which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006, was the artistâ€™s first retrospective in the US.
“Unfussy but remarkably erudite, her pottery comfortably foregrounds ceramicsâ€™ conventions and place within (or outside of) this erstwhile art-historical canon,â€ť said Suzanne Hudson of Woodmanâ€™s show at LAâ€™s David Kordansky Gallery for the April 2015 issue ofÂ Artforum. â€śThe rigor of Woodmanâ€™s engagement with the medium was here belied by the visceral convolutions of color and runny streaks of paint that turn the surface of her vessels into canvaslike grounds.â€ť
Reprinted with thanks from Artforum – a major online source of arts information. View it now!