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“Betty Woodman / MATRIX 119” at Wadsworth Atheneum in 1992 was a key exhibition for Woodman, helping to define a context for her work in ceramics within the larger world of contemporary art. The MATRIX exhibition series has been a critical forum for challenging, experimental contemporary art for the past 45 years, presenting early-career solo exhibitions for many accomplished and well-known artists.

In the exhibition essay, curator Andrea Miller-Keller writes: “Woodman’s work has been hailed for crossing over from ceramics to sculpture. It is important to acknowledge, however, that Woodman sees herself ‘dealing with painting as much as with sculpture. That is really what ceramics is all about. It’s about form and about painting and about painted three-dimensional form.’ A dynamic tension common to ceramics (and only occasionally present in sculpture) arises from the fact that painting stresses flatness while a clay form is volumetric. Woodman energetically exploits this contradiction in her recent work…”

To read the entire essay, please click here or click on the image above for a complete gallery view and details. Please click here to read a contemporaneous review which describes Woodman's “sculpturelike clay pieces” as “exuding the vigor and freedom of abstract expressionist paintings.”

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