Out of the Woods and Into the Ring | Kristen Cliffel

December 3, 2015 - March 6, 2016



Life can be a circus, a fairy tale, a competition, a puzzlement. Clay artist Kristen Cliffel addresses it all with thoughtfulness and humor through her whimsical yet potent sculptures in the new exhibition, Out of the Woods and Into the Ring, at the Canton Museum of Art on view now through March 6, 2016.

Kristen draws upon incidents from her home life and transmutes them into a fairy tale realm full of familiar images from unassuming cultural references. The resulting sculptures are playful, often humorous, sometimes cynical, and reveal both the joys and hardships of living in the modern world. Cliffel refers to the language of her work as “domestic mythology.” Though she considers herself “a storyteller that happens to make sculpture,” the stories Cliffel’s works allude to are not narrative, but rather a composite of cultural clues and recognizable memes that point viewers in a general direction, guiding them to associate their own stories with the work.

“In this era we strive for wholesome, safe and fulfilling lives both at work and at home. Striving for ‘the good life’ sometimes becomes a comedy of errors and a terrific balancing act. These everyday situations motivate my inner voices to create work that reveals some of the difficulties as well as joys that are inherent in the journey.” Said Kristen.

Kristen Cliffel lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1990 with a BFA in Ceramics. Kristen is in many public and private collections in the area including, University Hospitals, Metro General Hospital, Lutheran Hospital, Hahn, Loeser and Parks LLP. Kristen has completed Residencies at The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and the Kohler Company in Wisconsin. She has received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, has been a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant Nominee.