Virgina A. Groot Foundation

« back

Lauren Grossman
2007 2nd Place recipient

Lives and works in Seattle, WA.


A graduate of the University of Washington ceramics program, Lauren Grossman works in a variety of media--from porcelain to cast iron to insect-encrusted fiberglass. Her provocative installations and objects wrestle with the ever shifting meanings of Judeo/Christian imagery in contemporary culture.

Since the early eighties, she has done twenty solo shows as well as numerous regional and national group exhibitions. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art In America, Sculpture, American Ceramics, and other periodicals. Her honors include a Flintridge Foundation Award, two Groot Foundation recognition awards, a Seattle Artists Award, and two Kohler Arts/Industry residencies. Howard House Gallery currently represents Lauren in Seattle.


For the last several years, I have been making sculpture and installations engaging the peculiarities of the judeo/christian legacy. The religious images which were once an assumed vocabulary of western visual culture have become strange and a bit archaic, but are still potent. Using everything from levers to artificial hearts, I have found mechanical metaphors particularly suited to thinking about the functions of religion and faith. For the most part, the devices I use are passive, requiring the viewer to actually or mentally complete the system. It is a sort of do-it-yourself approach involving the labor of cranking, pumping, grinding, or simply turning on the gas.

Some of the work cites its sources very directly, physically using the text to create forms. In “Not Consumed”, for example, the lacy structure of the Burning Bush is a passage from Exodus which begins anew on each limb. The bush is grown of its own description. The word becomes flesh. Cast into iron, the story is not easily legible, but words and phrases can be recognized with a little study. Not unlike the source texts of the Bible, the obscure unpunctuated prose on the piece is prone to guessing and misreading.

The materials as well as the allusions in my sculpture have the quality of being well worn. The resins tend to be lumpy, yellowed, and encrusted with insects. The machinery is mostly salvaged industrial scrap, (a dental mold jig, parts of a photostat camera, a car jack...), reconfigured into new devices while still retaining a memory of some former use. The physical evidence of damage and repair adds a sense of history to the reworking of old sources in the light of the present moment.



1981-83 University of Washington, Seattle, WA
B.F.A. Ceramic Sculpture, Magna Cum Laude
1980-81 University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
1978-80 Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Selected Professional Experience & Honors

2009 Virginia A. Groot Foundation Recognition Award, Evanston, IL (also 2007)
2007 GAP Grant, Artist Trust, Seattle, WA
2006 Visiting Lecturer, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
(Also 2002, 2000, 1995)
2005-6 Grant recipient, Flintridge Foundation, Pasadena, CA
2005 Arts/Industry Resident, Kohler Company, Kohler, WI (Also 1990)
2003,07 Visiting Faculty, University of Washington Rome Center, Rome, Italy
2000 PONCHO Special Recognition Award, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA

Selected Solo Exhibitions

 2008 “Told You So”, Howard House Gallery, Seattle, WA
“Whithersoever”, Fairbanks Gallery, Oregon State Univ, Corvallis, OR
2007 “Meditations + Revelations”, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
2006 "Not Consumed", Howard House Gallery, Seattle, WA
2002 “Scapegoat Variations”, Esther Claypool Gallery, Seattle, WA
2001 Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI

Selected Group Exhibitions

2008 “Century 21: Dealer’s Choice” Wright Space, Seattle WA
“Heads: DisEmbodied”, Kirkland Art Center, Kirkland, WA
2005 "Unnatural History", Kittredge Gallery, U of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
2004 "Seattle Perspective", Wa State Convention Center, Seattle, WA
2003 “UW Ceramics Program 1969-1996”, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
2002 “Seattle Collects 2002”, City Space, Seattle, WA
2000 “Ceramic National”, Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; Harn Museum, FL ;
Chicago Cultural Center, IL; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
“CoCA Credits”, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA

Selected Public Collections

City Light Collection, City of Seattle, WA
John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
Kohler Company, Kohler, WI
Matthews Collection, Arizona State University Museum, Tempe, AZ
Microsoft Inc., Redmond, WA
Special Collections, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA

Selected Bibliography

Confrontational Ceramics, Judith Schwartz, A&C Black, London
“The Weight of Words”, Emily Pothast,
“Taking a turn…”, Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee J-S, Feb 9
One Shot, Visual Codec press
“Lauren Grossman at…”, Frances DeVuono, Artweek, Vol 37, No 4, May
“Artists Take on Religion…”, Lucia Enriquez, Seattle Times, March 17
“Lauren Grossman at Howard House”, Gary Fagin,, 2/25
“Don’t Call It Religious Art”, Jen Graves, The Stranger, Vol 15, No 25.
“Lauren Grossman’s Not …”, Peter Gaucys, The Stranger, Vol 15, No 24
The Figure in Clay, Suzanne Tourtillott, Editor, Lark Books
“Lauren Grossman at…”, Matthew Kangas, Art in America, Feb
“Sculptures take Biblical…”, Victoria Josslin, Seattle P-I, July 15
"Burning Passion", Regina Hackett, Seattle P-I, March 20

Click the images below to enlarge