FIGURING SPACE | The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

The Clay Studio | Philadelphia, PA January 12, 2023 – April 16, 2023

JANUARY 12th to APRIL 16th 2023

Featuring work by
Cristina Cordova
and Sergei Isupov


The Clay Studio Presents FIGURING SPACE, an Exhibition of Full-scale Figurative Sculptures by a Dozen Top Ceramic Artists Based in America

The Clay Studio (1425 N. American St), Philadelphia’s preeminent ceramic arts and resident artist’s center, will present Figuring Space, a new exhibition comprised of full-scale, figurative sculptures by 12 leading ceramic artists based in the United States. Each of the artists explores their individual cultural identity and what it means to be human through their figurative sculptures. The powerful figures will serve as a body of evidence to lay bare the issues that permeate American art and social culture. Figuring Space will open on January 12, 2023, and will be on display in The Clay Studio’s Jill Bonovitz Gallery through April 16, 2023.

The body, as a concept, is intimately tied to ceramic art. Clay is often used as a proxy for the physicality of flesh and has the capacity to articulate cultural perspectives, social engagement, and artistic intention. Furthermore, figurative sculptures have been at the center of public debate as monuments honoring individuals with dark histories are being reexamined and sometimes removed. Figuring Space uses that conversation – who gets to be seen and celebrated – as the backdrop to present a collection of works used to usurp the painful history of bodies on display in American history. Together, the artists will assert their autonomy and subjectivity by presenting cultural critiques through lenses of their own choosing, including race, gender, class, and anti-war ideas as inspiration for their own powerful stories.

Each of the artists selected for Figuring Space is known for creating contemporary, representational work that incorporates concepts and designs inspired by their cultural heritage.


The Clay Studio | 1425 N American Street, Philadelphia, PA

Cristina Córdova, “EVA XV”, 2022, unglazed: finished with burnished earth pigments from the island of Puerto Rico mixed with casein, lime, and oxides; 60 x 18 x 22″.

Sergei Isupov, “On the Way”, 2020, porcelain, slip, glaze, 58.5 x 38 x 18″.


  • View More by Sergei Isupov HERE
  • View More by Cristina Cordova HERE


2022, unglazed: finished with burnished earth pigments from the island of Puerto Rico mixed with casein, lime, and oxides
60 x 18 x 22″


2020, large-scale figure, porcelain, slip, glaze, 58.5 x 38 x 18″


*Exhibition Catalog can be ordered HERE.

The Clay Studio: Figuring Space Publication Date: January 2023. This catalog features highlights on the artists in the exhibition and includes commentary by Jennifer Zwilling, Curator & Director of Artistic Programs at TCS, and Dr. Kelli Morgan, who are working together to make Figuring Space relevant to our audiences and the art historical record. Dr. Morgan is a curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American art and visual culture has worked with TCS in the past. Her scholarly and activist work combine to make her incredibly qualified to examine the issues of racial politics and the artistic use of the figure in this exhibition. Morgan has developed and championed new curatorial methodologies that privilege the voices of museum audiences, breaking the misconception that museums should hold all the authority dictating how to experience art. Collaboration with colleagues of varied experiences produce expansive curatorial perspective. Together, we are endeavoring to create an exhibition that can offer truly meaningful experiences for every person who walks into the gallery at The Clay Studio.

  • 2023 Catalog
  • The exhibition catalog also includes color photography of select works in the exhibition.
  • 8 x 10 x .5
  • Available for purchase for $15.00
  • Item:TCS-2252

OPENING RECEPTION | Thursday, January 12

The Clay Studio will host a special opening reception to launch Figuring Space on Thursday, January 12, from 5 to 8 p.m.


Figuring Space Workshop Creating Expressive Facial Features | Friday, January 13, from 1 to 4 p.m.

For those looking for an in-depth look at Figuring Space, The Clay Studio will host the Figuring Space Workshop – Creating Expressive Facial Features, a special workshop led by featured artists Sergei Isupov and Jonathan Christensen Caballero. On Friday, January 13, from 1 to 4 p.m., participants of all skill levels will watch the two highly-acclaimed figurative artists give demonstrations as they explain their techniques for creating expressive facial features in clay. The Creating Facial Features in Clay workshop is an in-person-only event.

Tickets to attend are $100 each and available for purchase HERE.
Please contact Josie Bockelman ( for discount information for this workshop.

Figuring Space Symposium | Friday, January 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

To further expand on the ideas and themes of this exhibition, The Clay Studio will host a special Figuring Space symposium on January 13, where guests can hear lectures and panel discussions from the artists and curators. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., attendees will hear from the twelve featured artists about what making full-scale figurative sculptures means to their art practice. The co-curators, Dr. Morgan and Zwilling, will also share their ideas about figurative sculpture in contemporary art through the lens of social activism as well as the form’s evolution throughout American art history.

Both of these events are free and open to the public. Audiences can also register to participate in the Figuring Space symposium virtually by registering HERE .