Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2018
Leigh Taylor Mickelson, a resident of Ossining, NY, is the Executive Director at Clay Art Center, in Port Chester, NY and was formerly on staff as the Program Director. In 2006, she moved to NY from Baltimore, MD where she was the Exhibitions Director for Baltimore Clayworks for 9 years. In her 20 year career as an arts administrator and curator, she has curated and organized dozens of ceramic exhibitions for galleries and organizations across the United States, and in 2013 joined the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) board as their Exhibitions Director. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and English Literature from Hamilton College, where she graduated Suma Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1995, she received her Masters in Fine Arts, Ceramic Sculpture from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts. Mickelson has had several articles published in various publications and catalogs, has taught ceramics and workshops across the east coast and exhibits her own work widely across the nation. She received a 2003 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for her abstract organic sculpture, her work was showcased in an article in the March 2005 issue of Ceramics Monthly, and in 2010 she presented her work at NCECA in Philadelphia. In addition, she is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Westchester.
My ceramic sculpture explores the different components of self, sexuality and family, and how these components relate and conflict with one another. I use forms from nature, especially ones found in plant life, as a means of expressing these components. Being full of dichotomy, the elements of natural forms act as a metaphor for the spiritual, emotional and physical extremes that exist within our selves, our love relationships and our family units.
My most recent work gives homage to one of the most recent inspirations for my work: a plant’s will to pollinate. For me, the private “business” of flowering plants reveals a world that mimics human interaction to a fascinating degree. In addition, the forms found inside plants, once magnified, divulge a beauty that is regrettably unseen by the naked eye. In my work, I aim to capture the essence of these organic forms, reveal their beauty, and hence celebrate nature’s will to attract and therefore produce.