The centrality of the vase in my work is certainly a reference to a global perspective on art history and production. The container is a universal symbol—it holds and pours all fluids, stores foods, and contains everything from our final remains to flowers. The vase motif connects what I do to all aspects of art. I can mix the motifs of a classic Greek vase on one side of a triptych with the details of a Japanese print on the other all conveyed with a palette based on the hues of a recollected Hindu temple.
Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Betty Woodman was a leading American ceramicist. She graduated with a degree in pottery from the School for American Craftsmen at Alfred University in 1950. Her career took off in the 1970s when her approach became more colorful and whimsical in conversation with her peers in the Pattern and Decoration movement. Her work has been shown internationally in France, Italy, Holland, and Japan. Retrospectives of Woodman’s work have taken place at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2016); Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2015); the American Academy in Rome (2010); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2006). Woodman was a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980, 1986) and a guest artist at the Manufacture National de Sevres in France.