Virgina A. Groot Foundation

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Susannah Israel
1994 3rd Place recipient


from perception to realization...

The visual parade of urban life is a potent source for my inspiration.   Crisp and vivid or fleeting and fugitive, a constant montage of images provides me with rich reference material while at work in the studio. The figure takes the center stage, as narrator, actor and symbol. 

My artistic practice is a fusion of planning, process, and discovery. I begin with a series of drawings to develop a concept; I make notes about clay color, texture and finishes; when working directly with the material, I am alert to its expressive possibilities.

My approach to my materials is a combination of well-practiced skill and reckless disregard for established convention. I tell students "Use all your options," and I actually do take my own advice.  I willingly sacrifice lifelike anatomy to questions of composition and gesture. I use both high and low-fire clays.  A confirmed alchemist, I am always testing new formulas.  I use nontraditional materials with clay - paint, metal, found objects, - when they serve the work best.

There is an inherent paradox when working with so responsive a material as clay. Traces of touch - fingerprints, knuckle marks - are formed, moment by moment, with relentless fidelity. Such intimate contact of hand and clay remains far beyond the process, beyond even the life of the artist; it is a permanent record of impermanence.  


2000 Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics, San Francisco State University
1987 Baccalaureate cum laude, Art and Chemistry, San Francisco State University
2002-2005 Post-graduate coursework in Graphic Design, Berkeley City College

Selected Exhibitions

Archie Bray Foundation Annual Summer Auction, Helena, Montana
Fletcher Challenge: A Cultural Enquiry, Objectspace, Auckland, New Zealand
World Culture in the East Bay, 510 Arts Intersection, Oakland, CA.  Oct – Nov 2010. Sculpture Award50 Gravy Boats, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, California
Pacific Grove Arts Center, Pacific Grove, California. “21st Century Groove”
Monumental Sculpture Invitational, the Sculptor’s Dominion, San Antonio, Texas
Ceramics Annual of America, Fort Mason, San Francisco CA
Endangered Species, Steingart Gallery, Laney College, Oakland, CA
30 Ceramic Sculptors, Natsoulas Arts Center, Davis, California.
Archie Bray Foundation Annual Summer Auction, Helena, Montana
Annual Monumental Sculpture Invitational. The Sculptor's Dominion, San Antonio, Texas
Firing a Legacy: David Kuraoka at SF State University. Pence Gallery, Davis, California. Exhibition catalog
“30 Ceramic Sculptors 2009” John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, Davis, California
“las cadre: craft masters”,  Richmond Art Center, CA
Body Works, A New Leaf Gallery, Sonoma, California
Taiwan Biennale, Yingge Museum of Ceramics, Taipei, Taiwan
"Narratives," Jan 31 - April 5, 2008. Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco, California
"Taking Shape" 2008 Invitational, Sculptor's Dominion, San Antonio, Texas
"30 Ceramic Sculptors 2008," John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA
"One Piece," Penryn Workshops Art Gallery, Penryn, CA
"Parlor of Earthly Delights," Falkirk Center, San Rafael
“Beyond the Horizon," Pence Gallery, Davis, California
"Susannah Israel & Georgi Andanov", William Merrill Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
"Complexities of Clay" 2008 Invitational.  Elaine Levin, Curator. Bell Gallery, Jewish Federation of Los
Angeles, CA
"The Art of Democracy," INFERNO Gallery, Oakland, California
The Sculptors Dominion, San Antonio, Texas. "Brilliant Dimensions: Monumental Sculpture"
Pence Gallery, Davis, CA. "Daphne Gillen & Susannah Israel. "
ArtWorks Downtown, San Rafael, California, "Conscious Concepts"
Lincoln Arts, Lincoln, CA. "Feats of Clay XX Invitational."
Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA. "2007 30 Ceramic Sculptors"
Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA. "Teacher/Artist"
Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA. "30 Ceramic Sculptors,"
Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco, CA  "Firings,"
City Museum, Craft Alliance, St Louis, Missouri "Art Blast"|
Archie Bray Foundation, " 2006 Resident Artists Annual Summer Auction"
Virginia Breier,San Francisco,CA. "Narratives in Clay"
Ridley Gallery, Sierra College, Rocklin, CA. "Face to Face"
Pence Gallery, Davis, California. "Two for Tea"
The Artery, Davis, CA. "2005 California Clay Competition." Juror’s Award
Lincoln Arts, Lincoln, CA. "Feats of Clay XVIII,"  2005. Purchase Award
Craft Alliance, St. Louis, Missouri, "Animated Earth: The Many Permutations of Clay."
Artisans Gallery, Mill Valley, CA. "Sculptural Form: The Shape of Things"
Laney College, Oakland CA, 2004. Faculty Art Exhibition
Inferno Gallery, Oakland, California, "Bush Out!"
Eddie Rhodes Gallery, Contra Costa College, San Pablo, California "The Animal Experience"
Fort Mason Museum, San Francisco, CA. 2003 Showcase Exhibition
New Leaf Gallery, Berkeley CA. Focus on the Figure.
San Joaquin Potters, Stockton, California, Visions in Clay 2003. Juror’s Award
Sierra College, Nevada City, California. Gillian Hodges Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition: Ceramics Award
Virginia A. Groot Foundation, "Visual Perspectives: 14 Years of the Virginia A. Groot Awards," SOFA
Chicago, Illinois
Bakersfield Museum of Art, “Oil & Cotton” solo exhibition, May – Sept
Fort Mason Museum, San Francisco, California. Showcase Exhibition
Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. Contemporary Ceramics
Lincoln Arts & Culture, Lincoln, CA. Clay Art Invitational
Museum of Craft & Folk Art, SF CA. Annual Showcase
New Leaf Gallery, Berkeley, CA. "Bay Area and Beyond"
Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina. “American Ceramics Collection”.
Yingko Museum of Art, Taiwan, 6th Golden Ceramics Award
Alice Arts Center, Oakland CA. 3-person show, with Shalene Valenzuela
Lincoln Arts, Lincoln CA. "Feats of Clay XIII" 2000  Second Place & Purchase Awards

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