Studio Sunday: Betty Woodman
This Sunday, let’s take a look inside the studio of Betty Woodman. Born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1930, Woodman was a ceramic artist who was known for her wild, sculptural ceramic works that combined cubist and abstract expressionism aesthetics, sometimes borrowing forms from mass-produced, household ceramic objects, and sometimes juxtaposed with paintings.
Woodman’s studio, pictured above, looks cool and pleasantly cluttered. The ceramics artist began her career as a production potter, which is essentially “mass production” pottery – making cups, jugs, vases, bowls and the like. The number of small vessels in her art studio would suggest that Woodman was very prolific.
The artist’s ceramic works became more abstract and unique as time went on – some of these works can be seen in the foreground of the photo, in the form of slightly taller, more curved and fluidly shaped vessels. This photo was taken early on in Woodman’s artistic career, and you can almost see the transition taking place between the artist’s production of more conventional vessels, and her experimentation with more abstracted techniques.
I like the atmosphere and feeling that I get from this studio space. It looks comfortable, a space of not only hard work, but also of enjoyment. There’s natural sunlight coming in from the window, and the smile on Woodman’s face suggests that she’s creating artwork that she’s happy with.
Betty Woodman was married to fellow artist George Woodman, and was the mother of photographer Francesca Woodman. Woodman herself passed away on January 2nd, 2018, at the age of 87. She had gained a good amount of notoriety as an abstract artist prior to her death, and is still celebrated to this day.