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Lynn Duryea
American ceramist.

American ceramist Lynn Duryea is known for her minimalist sculpture, incorporating references to architectural, mechanical and industrial elements.

Duryea had already been a studio-artist in Maine for over 20 years before earning an MFA from the University of Florida in 2002. In 1986 she co-founded the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine, where she was Program Coordinator and Artist-in-Residence for the Watershed Workshop for People with HIV/AIDS from 1992–2004.

She taught at the Sam Houston State University in Texas in 2003 and accepted a tenured position as Assistant Professor of Art, Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina in 2004.

Duryea was also a co-founder of the Sawyer Street Studios, an artist-owned ceramic facility in South Portland, Maine. In 1998 she received Portland, Maine’s YWCA Women of Achievement Award, the first visual artist to do so.

Artist's Statement

The ordinary is quite extraordinary. Through elemental shape and form, my reference is to architectural and mechanical elements as well as large scale industrial objects and sites. The representation of function is in an allusive and enigmatic sense, suggestive of the past. The objects are evocative of abandoned sites of human activity, generating feelings of melancholy and stillness.

When viewed from a distance, these objects present insistent profile and reductive form, images of simplicity and stillness. Closer consideration reveals a sense of history, traces of transformation that generate narratives of accretion and deterioration. Surfaces are generated by means of building up and wearing away, a layering and removal of materials that implies processes occurring over time, suggesting previous use and depicting the effects of decay, erosion and weathering.

Through a vocabulary of form of softened geometry, I investigate subtlety and nuance, and the method and manner of connection. Simplicity and clarity function as an expression, and as an invitation to contemplate the complexity and richness that can exist in the apparently straightforward. Subtle shifts and changes, seeing images from slightly differing angles and views, lends a depth to the consideration of objects.

Transition zones, borders, places where one reality shifts to another, are compelling in their quiet drama. Great energy exists along an edge. I grew up in a small town on the extreme end of Long Island, New York, knowing the feeling of a littoral, a place where land stopped and seemingly endless water began. Land and the landscape have been encountered in visceral as well as visual ways. The nature and essence of the feelings generated by a particular place are as inspiring to me as the structure and color of land, buildings and vegetation.

Joy in the physicality of constructing is part of what compels me to create objects. I am interested in how structure as well as the methods of construction and assembly can become part of the visual language of an object. More than serving a compositional function, for me these elements become part of a record of making, connections in time as well as material.

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