I want to make beautiful objects that physically engage the viewer. I use the natural plant world to reference the human body, creating pieces that evoke the physical and emotional sensations that people experience while in relationships. My pieces, therefore, may seem to represent bodies and plants that are blushing, tender, eager, sagging, erect or deflated. In this way, I hope to bring about a greater sensitivity for how we treat each other, and how our own sense of identity is created through our emotional responses to others.
I believe in the power of the natural world and physical materiality to help us navigate through this process of creating our own emotional identity. The natural world can serve as a touchstone to help ground us as we evolve and develop our own sense of self. Like plants growing towards the sun, I believe sexuality is a major force around which we gravitate. My work, therefore, has a very strong sensual theme
My conceptual development is rooted with a deep understanding of ceramic materials and processes. I employ this sensitivity and expertise to engage the viewer into my work. A soft edge of porcelain might remind one of the gesture of a lover, perhaps. A luscious glaze surface may evoke the overwhelming pleasure we feel in the throes of sensual love.
All my work is hand-built with either porcelain or white earthenware clay and glaze fired multiple times to develop rich layers of color and texture. I may start by roughing out a singular form, or I may create several organic elements which are later joined together. I continue building with the clay as it stiffens, spending more time refining the form and adjusting the composition. I conduct extensive testing with new combinations of glazes to bring depth to my work and create subtle drama on the surface.
I take great inspiration from the natural world of the Pacific Northwest, having lived and worked here for thirty years. These moments of deep appreciation help me treat others more gently, with greater compassion, and help me appreciate daily life with a greater sense of joy. I hope that my work can serve as a vehicle to do this for others.
Lisa Conway was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received a B.F.A. in ceramics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1990 and an M.F.A. in ceramics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1993. In 1991 she was awarded a full fellowship to study at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Lisa has taught Art at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Portland Community College and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She has served as Professor of Art and Head of the Ceramics Area at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington since 2003.
Lisa has completed several prominent artist residencies around the country, including at the Archie Bray Foundation, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Red Lodge Clay Center, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, the Playa Center for the Arts in Summer Lake, Oregon and at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. Lisa is a member of the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery and was included in the Oregon Biennial exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in 2003. Her most recent solo exhibition was at the Rose Center for the Arts at Columbia College in Longview, Washington. Lisa lives in Portland, Oregon, and works out of a ceramics studio in her home.