By Karin Reed
“It’s not about what you know, but who you know,” is a cliché you have probably heard countless times, but it proves to be true in for ceramics artist Allison Luce. Originally from Pittsburgh, Luce moved to the Charlotte area six years ago. Not being too familiar with the Arts & Science Council, she heard about the Regional Artist Project Grant (RAPG) program through friends at Clayworks, a ceramic arts studio, where she was a studio artist. Luce is now one of 31 recipients of this year’s grant.
Luce used her grant to buy a kiln to complete her home studio that she began constructing in 2011. Since the purchase, she has been able to continue to work on her “Serpent Tree” experiment that began in 2009.
“‘The Serpent Tree’ explores fragility and femininity and its relation to the concept of eternity through ceramics, connecting my artwork made in a post-modern context to the rich and ancient history of clay,” said Luce.
The collection is loosely based on the Garden of Eden’s tree of knowledge of good and evil and represents themes like desire and frailty. From afar, her pieces seem to be beautiful flowers of different shapes and colors intertwined with each other, but by approaching the pieces closely you will notice the intricate details and flowers begin to look more like snakes and vines. According to Luce, that seems to be the goal of her pieces.
“At first glance the forms seem to be living and innocent, but upon closer inspection they can appear slightly sinister and suggestive,” she said.
Luce is able to portray this by referencing the connection between the body and nature in her pieces.
“These sculptures are about birth, growth and temptation. It is this play between innocence and experience that forms the basis of my work.”
Recently, earlier pieces of the “Serpent Tree” collection were shown at Packard Place Gallery in uptown Charlotte. In June, Luce participated in an artist residency at the Medalta International Artists in Residence Program in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.
She is currently working on an installation at Asbury University in Kentucky and at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte that will debut in the fall.
To learn more about Allison Luce visit allisonluce.com.