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Betty Woodman (born May 14, 1930 in Norwalk, CT) is an American artist, internationally recognized as one of today’s most important ceramic sculptors. Woodman began her work with clay in a high school pottery class. She studied at Alfred University in Alfred, NY from 1948-1950, and began her began professional ceramics career as a production potter with the aim of creating objects to enhance everyday life. Woodman began teaching at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1979 and was made professor emeritus in 1998.
Since her early days as a production potter, the vase has become Woodman’s subject, product, and muse. In deconstructing and reconstructing its form, she has created an exuberant and complex body of sculpture. Its signature is its reflection of a wide range of influences and traditions and an inventive use of color. As she has written, “The centrality of the vase in my work certainly implies a global perspective on art history and production. The container is a symbol — it holds and pours all fluids, stores food and contains everything from flowers to our final remains.”
Over the course of her lengthy career, Woodman has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally. Most recently these include Betty Woodman: L’allegra vitalità delle porcellane at the Museo delle Porcellane in the Palazzo Pitti near the Giardino di Boboli in Florence, Italy during 2009 and 2010; her retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Art of Betty Woodman, 2006; as well as Theatres of Betty Woodman at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, 2005. Her many awards and honors include a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to Florence Italy in 1966; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1980 and 1986; a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in 1985, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the Bellagio Study Center, Bellagio, Italy, 1995.
Woodman currently lives and works in New York City and Antella, Italy.