Crystal Morey

NATURE OF NURTURING | Notes from Director, Leslie Ferrin

NATURE OF NURTURING | Notes from Director Leslie Ferrin

A renewed awareness and galvanizing commitment for change is surging through American cultural and academic institutions, organizations, and businesses of every sort, exposing the crying need for structural change. Specifically, this includes the advancement of equality for artists of all genders, eliminating the sexual harassment, wage discrimination, and the other forms of sexism that continue to affect the lives of women, transgender and non-binary individuals. As part of the movement to reverse and rebalance priorities as well as open new doors, it is crucial to offer opportunities to artists who have been historically marginalized.

Ferrin Contemporary has invited twelve female artists to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice, to consider the impact of the #MeToo movement, and/or to examine how the constructs of gender and gendered behavior impact their personal and professional lives. Nature assigned these artists who identify as female on a given path, whereas nurture is an accumulation of experiences and influences has had both positive and negative impact on their personal and professional lives.

Individual artworks do not always offer specific references to identity through direct content. However, a close look at the career paths in the short biographies and written statements in this exhibition, Nature/Nurture reveals information about how each of these artists – members of several different generations – has sustained her creative practice. The ceramic artworks in Nature/Nurture converge in a dialogue and accumulation of experiences and influences; they reflect on positive and negative forces shaping contemporary female and non-binary identities. Together, through the artwork, statements and biographies, these women artists who identify as female and are at various stages of their careers, convey different experiences defined by their gender, age, geographic and cultural identities.

Mara Superior, Sally Silberberg, Tricia Zimic have had decades-long careers that began before the two youngest, now in their 30’s were born. Unlike the women who began their career in the 70’s, Crystal Morey and Lauren Mabry and others born in the 80’s are already well established with museums actively acquiring important mid-career works. Linda Sikora and Linda Sormin have balanced their international artistic practices with teaching in University programs. As a graduate student, Linda Sikora was unable to attend a program led by a female professor. Linda Sormin, of the generation following, pursued graduate studies specifically with three leading women artists Linda Sikora, Andrea Gill and Anne Currier. Likewise, Giselle Hicks and Cristina Córdova had the advantage of powerful female faculty and confidence that led to independent paths, establishing their own studio practice supported by periodic short term teaching, unhindered by the politics of full-time academia. International artists, Kadri Pärnamets (Estonia), Rae Stern (Israel) and Anina Major (Bahamas)

have located their practices in the USA where residencies have welcomed them, supported the development of their work and proximity to the marketplace.

For the two artists who began their careers in the 70’s, their education took place in institutions with male-dominated programs. As they began their careers, the studio craft movement provided independent economic security and a “workaround” for women whose chosen media, ceramics, had yet to be embraced by the fine art world. For those who followed beginning their careers in the 90’s and until the market crash in 2008, the glass ceiling showed cracks. Women were hired in academic positions, replacing retiring male faculty as programs were rebalanced to achieve diversity.

Starting in the eighties, studio craft was avidly collected by private collectors through fairs, galleries and directly from the artists themselves. The ultimate goal of self-support through sales was viable for a large number of artists but that ended with the recession. For those who began their professional careers at a time when the market system had collapsed, these artists were ultimately fortunate as a new path opened for work in ceramics when the groundbreaking survey exhibition in 2009, “Dirt on Delight” jettisoned ceramics into the broader field of contemporary fine art in the USA. In addition, the explosion of international biennales inclusive of ceramics and craft that provided context for material based artworks in the broader art scene.

This wide acceptance for ceramics and the other female associated media, fiber arts, has settled the Art vs. Craft debate. For both emerging and established artists whose chosen primary material was previously segregated and independent from the mainstream, these new opportunities for their works have begun to balance the gender and cultural gap of representation at galleries and museums. Foundation support for diversity initiatives have had a significant impact through awards for artist fellowships and new scholarship. For those whose work took the form of vessels or studio pottery, a new generation of curators have embraced their work by making connections between practicing contemporary artists and past masterworks in the areas of decorative arts and design.

Inspired by the important work of Judith Butler and Helen Longino, the artists in this show were invited to explore the influence of ‘Nature/Nurture’ within their practice. Their work ranges from more direct interpretations of the natural world, to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender, and endowed role of women.  “Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.” ― Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, 2004

Seen as a whole, this group of twelve women artists who live and work throughout the USA, is representative of the rising tide of professional opportunities. While significant earnings and advancement gaps remain, a course correction is underway through the increasing number of gender and culturally specific exhibitions. As priorities shift for museum collections, educational public programming and private collectors, these efforts to course-correct are bringing recognition to artists previously overlooked and undervalued and to undocumented legacies. Nature/Nurture seeks to contribute to and further this recognition.

Leslie Ferrin, director Ferrin Contemporary

a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice.

Read the NATURE/NURTURE series

NATURE/NURTURE | Group Show of 12 Women Artists
LESLIE FERRIN | Director Notes | Nature of Nurturing
CRISTINA CORDOVA | Nature/Nurture | PBS Craft in America – Identity
GISELLE HICKS | Tiles & Vessels | Teaching Online in the Time of COVID19

LAUREN MABRY | Nature/Nurture | Cylinders & Flow Blocks
ANINA MAJOR | Nature/Nurture | No Vacancy in Paradise
CRYSTAL MOREY | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions
KADRI PÄRNAMETS | Nature/Nurture | Small Matters and Roots & Pollinators
LINDA SIKORA | Nature/Nurture | On Nurture: Our Social and Political Spaces
MARA SUPERIOR | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions
RAE STERN | Nature/Nurture | In Fugue
TRICIA ZIMIC | Nature/Nurture | Sins & Virtues



Posted by AxelJ in Blog, News, NOTES FROM DIRECTOR
CRYSTAL MOREY, The Berkshire Eagle, September 20, 2019

CRYSTAL MOREY, The Berkshire Eagle, September 20, 2019

An intersection of two passions: art history and nature. Pop surrealist Crystal Morey makes east coast debut.

by Jennifer Huberdeau, September 20, 2019

“I hope that when people see my work, they think about that, how we’re impacting the land, the animals and the water. Hopefully, it creates some empathy for those creatures and spaces.” – Morey







Crystal Morey’s Venus on the Waves exhibition of porcelain sculptures is on display at the Ferrin Contemporary Gallery in North Adams from September 21 through November 2. Thursday, September 19, 2019.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, News
Revive, Remix, Respond at The Frick Pittsburgh

Revive, Remix, Respond at The Frick Pittsburgh

Revive, Remix, Respond: 
Contemporary Ceramic Artists and The Frick Pittsburgh

February 17–May 27, 2018

Revive, Remix, Respond

Showcases contemporary artists who are breathing new life into the ceramic medium by reinvigorating age-old motifs, processes, and techniques. Contemporary ceramicists were invited to respond to and produce new works that reference the art, objects, and social history of the collections at The Frick Pittsburgh, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh, PA.

photo: Mara Superior, “Kangxi Period, Qing Dynasty/ A Collection” 2018.

Remix Your Friday Exhibition Preview

Friday, February 16, 5:30-7:30pm

Join us for a happy hour in The Frick Art Museum to celebrate the opening of this exhibition, Be among the first to see this unique exhibition, which features work from established and emerging artists. The evening will also feature gallery talks from exhibition curator Dawn Brean and exhibited artist Beth Lipman (pictured).
Click for more.

photo: Beth Lipman working at John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Blog, News
THE WOMEN at Ferrin Contemporary

THE WOMEN at Ferrin Contemporary


Ferrin Contemporary presents selected works by women artists whose primary medium is clay. On view in the gallery and online, we introduce new works by emerging and established artists along with masterworks available from private collections and artist archives.

Ferrin Contemporary
1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
through Dec 31, 2017
Click to view exhibition.

Susan Thayer, “Return” teapot, 2016
Click to view more work by Susan Thayer.


Solo Exhibition at Alfred Ceramic Art Museum
Opening February 2018

Cristina Córdova, “Cabeza I con pájaro,” small head, 2017
Click to view more work by Cristina Córdova.


Kardri Pärnamets’ biomorphic forms are a canvas for paintings drawn from art history’s iconic images of women. Currently on view in THE WOMEN at Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA.

The Turkish Bath after Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, teapot, 2016
Click for more work by Kadri Pärnamets.


Featured in EXPOSED: Heads, Busts, and Nudes
our recent exhibition of figural ceramic sculpture from 1965 to the present featuring masterworks by noted American and British sculptors.

Christy Brown, “Ghost Portrait” 2015, ceramic sculpture.
Click for more Christie Brown.
Click to view EXPOSED catalog.


one of Great Britain’s most well-known figural sculptors

On view in THE WOMEN
Ferrin Contemporary
1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
through December 31, 2017

Claire Curneen, “Mary Magdalene” 2015, ceramic sculpture.
Click for more work by Claire Curneen.
Click to view EXPOSED catalog.


Introducing artist Crystal Morey to be featured in
Revive, Remix, Respond: Contemporary Ceramic Artists at The NY Ceramics & Glass Fair and The Frick Pittsburgh in 2018
Crystal Morey, “Entangled Wonders: Across a Divide” 2017–8, work in progress.
Click for more work by Crystal Morey.


The Margaret Pennington Collection includes works for sale by pioneering female artists Ruth Duckworth, Viola Frey, Elsa Rady, Toshiko Takaezu, and Patti Warashina.

Toshiko Takaezu, “Untitled Form #53” 1990.
Click for more.
View the catalog.


New works by Linda Sikora to be featured at
The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair

Lecture Saturday, January 21, 4:00 pm
“American Studio Pottery — Making of a Movement”
Join Linda Sikora and Mark Shapiro in a conversation about divergent backgrounds, training, and influences as a way to touch on significant themes in postwar North American ceramics. Moderator Adrienne Spinozzi is Assistant Research Curator of American Decorative Arts, The American Wing, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Click for lecture info and RSVP.


Visit our square shop to purchase available works by Laura Andreson, Kim Dickey, Karen Karnes, Linda Sikora, Jenny Mendez, Dorothy Hafner, and Kadri Pärnamets.

Linda Sikora, “Cruet Set”, c.1990.
Browse the Shop.


Curators and Artists in Conversation at the
New York Ceramics and Glass Fair
Friday, January 19th

“Revive, Remix, Respond: Contemporary Ceramic Artists”
Dawn Brean with Crystal Morey, 2:00 pm
“Time Travel in the Period Room”
with Elisabeth Agro, Barry Harwood, Sarah Carter; 4:00 pm

Click for tickets and to RSVP.


Women in Ceramics Vol. 45 No. 1
In this issue of Studio Potter: nine essays remembering the life of Karen Karnes, a deep investigation of the legacy of women in wood-firing, several narratives about artists’ personal journeys in clay, artist profiles, and international perspectives.
Click for info on Studio Potter.
Click to request complimentary issue online.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Highlights, News, 0 comments
The Women

The Women

Cristina Córdova, “Encanto” 2017, clay & mixed media drawing on acid-free cardboard, 82 x 60”.


Ferrin Contemporary presents selected works by women artists whose primary medium is clay. On view in the gallery and online, we introduce new works by emerging and established artists along with masterworks available from private collections and artist archives.

ON VIEW at Ferrin Contemporary
1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
through Dec 31, 2017

Click here to view full news item.
Click here to view show online.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Highlights, News