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Andréa Key Connell: Hold On

Hollow Building Large Forms Workshop with Andrea Keys Connell
Morean Center for Clay

Hold on can be heard, felt, interpreted in a variety of ways. It can be a request on a phone line, or a plea to a loved one. It can be said to a child before you let go of their swing, a mental picture taken of a fleeting moment, or an internal statement to get to the other side of something.

“The work in this exhibition is a collection of sculptures made between the spring of 2020 and the spring of 2023. When reflecting on this work, the thread that I continue to feel between them is the statement, hold on, through a hug, a grip, a collision, a storm, an extension of a fleeting instance, hold on.

“My work has historically utilized the language of monuments and figurines as a vehicle to tell stories, question archetypes, and imbue new narratives on objects that have collective resonance. There are many things that I am attracted to in figurines. They are often placed on a pedestal that fills in the narrative’s place and space, and the figures typically offer a glimpse of a romanticized moment. Figurines are mass produced, sentimental, and often kitschy objects. But what the collector feels for these objects is deep and complex, and often can be traced to the acquisition of the figurine. Figurines come into one’s possession to celebrate a birth, a death, an anniversary, or any other numerous or commemorative moments. They become a stand-in for a story, stories often held private by the collector. While my sculptures could not easily fit into your china cabinet, I do very much think of them as figurines. Figurines that rather than serving as a stand-in for an experience, express a narrative that conveys the emotion of a time.”

Andréa Keys Connell (b. 1980, USA) is an Associate Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Fine Arts at Appalachian State University. She is a former Fountainhead Fellow and served as the head of the Clay Area in the Department of Craft/Material Studies at VCU from 2010-17.

Andréa’s work has been featured in a number of national and international publications and she has widely exhibited her work. Most recently Andrea was featured in Art Papers, Korean Monthly Ceramics, and Ceramic Monthly. Andréa is also a featured artist in the recent books Ceramics and the Human Figure and Lark Books 500 Figures in Clay.

She has had thirteen solo exhibitions in various galleries and museums since receiving her MFA in 2009, including The Florida Holocaust Museum, The Clay Studio, and The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Andréa also works on large-scale public art commissions such as the See Also endowment commission with the Cleveland Public Library.

Along with exhibiting her work and teaching at Appalachian State, Andréa has taught workshops on figure sculpting at various craft schools across the country including Haystack, Arrowmont, the Appalachian School of Craft, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.