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abstract ceramic sculptures   • individual and installation pieces 
emphasis on earthenware and raku
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Lars Westby
5707 Smith Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
larswestbyclay@hotmail.com
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Artist Statement:

          My artwork is a reflection of how I interpret my physical and cultural surroundings through the medium of clay. Foremost in this search is a personal need to express ideas through the creation of objects which have been created by my own hands. Through the transfiguration of the seemingly known object, I challenge viewers' perceptions of what they are familiar with by creating a new reality. This interaction, and my desire to create unique objects, ultimately led to a conceptual approach to what I make out of clay.

People have been making objects out of clay for thousands of years, and it is within this great tradition that I create objects, knowing they are somehow part of an evolution. Paradoxically, I will have created a series of objects that have never been seen or created before in ceramic history. It is this profound idea that causes me to conscientiously view my sculptures as a part of history, while also striving to create work that is inherently about the present world and my own place within it.

My process of creation is driven by an obsession to communicate through visual objects; an obsession that derives from early childhood experiences, and later by my travels and intellectual interests. This obsession to create has inspired me to transform objects from the everyday world into a world of my own "creation" that speaks of ideas on visual beauty as a concept, function versus non-function, desire, playfulness, the abstracted human form, and sublime mystery.

    This transformation of the known world results in quasi-organic sculptures that also relate to my background growing up in the industrial northeast, and having spent time on boats and renovating houses, to name a few sources. Physically, the objects often reference buoys, bobbers, boat fenders, toys, and industrial implements. These "sublime" objects, with their utilitarian implied aesthetic, are transformed into playful industrial/ organic objects with a surreal hybrid edge. Within this realm, a subtle reference to the human figure has crept into the work, adding a sensual anthropomorphic dimension to the sculptures.

    Ultimately I can rationalize much of what I create, but there will always be an element to the work which is difficult to explain or categorize. One of my teachers called this realm "tolerance of the unknown". In the creation of these objects, it is my hope that I will come up with a sculpture that will intrigue the viewer in some unique way and enable them to walk away with a sense of intellectual curiosity and awe.





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Brief Bio:
    

Lars Westby grew up in State College, Pennsylvania, and received a BFA in ceramics and a BA in art history from Penn State University. He later earned an MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

He has been awarded three Individual Artist Awards by the Maryland State Arts Council (2005, 2007 and 2012), and  an Individual Artist Grant by the Baltimore City Arts & Humanities Council (2005). In 2007, Lars spent four months as a visiting artist at the Tainan National University for the Arts in Taiwan. 

Currently, Lars is a member artist at Baltimore Clayworks, and is a full-time sculptor and teacher. He also teaches at Loyola University. Lars lives in Annapolis with his wife and their two children.





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Selected Awards:

Individual Artist Award, Maryland State Arts Council Visual Arts Grant, 2012

3rd Place Award, The Wills Creek Survey 2011, Saville Gallery, Cumberland, MD. 2011

First Place, Strictly Functional Pottery National, Market House Craft Center, Lancaster, PA., 2010 

First Prize, Third Street International: Bowl Me Over, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, Il., 2010

Jurors Award, 2nd Place Award, Clay On The Wall, Landmark Gallery, TTU, Lubbock, TX., 2010 

Purchase Award, Ceramics Monthly, Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA. 2009
Third Prize, 2008 National Cup Show, Barrett Clay Works, Poughkeepsie, NY. 2008

Honorable Mention, “Viewpoint: Ceramics2008", Hyde Art Gallery, El Cajon, CA. 2008

Purchase Award, 2008 International Orton Cone Box Show, NCECA, Pittsburgh, PA. March, 2008

Individual Artist Award, Maryland State Arts Council Visual Arts Grant, 2007

Guest Visiting Artist; Tainan National Univ. of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan, Spring Semester, 2007
First Prize Award, 2006 WAD Clay Institute Juried Annual, Pittsburgh, PA. 2006

Award of Excellence, Patterns In Clay, National Exhibition, Dix Hills, NY. Aug. 2006

2006 Sydney Myer Fund International Ceramics Award, Shepparton, Australia, 2006

Purchase Award, The 2006 International Orton Cone Box Show, NCECA, Portland, OR. 2006

Award Finalist, 2006 NICHE Awards Competition, Philadelphia, PA. 2006

First Prize Award, 2005 WAD Clay Institute Juried Annual, PA. 2005

Third Prize Jurors Award, 2005 Jersey Shore Clay National, m.t. burton gallery, 2005

2005 Individual Artist Grant, Baltimore City Arts & Humanities Council, 2005

Individual Artist Award, Maryland State Arts Council Visual Arts Grant, 2005

Award of Merit, The Slip cast Object, Steamboat Springs, CO. January, 2005

Purchase Award, Feats of Clay XVII, Lincoln, CA. May, 2004

Second Place Jurors Award, OUT OF THE FIRE, Wallingford, PA. May, 2004

Jurors Choice Award, The 2004 International Orton Cone Box Show, NCECA,

Award of Merit, St. Petersburg Clay National, St. Petersburg, FL. November, 2003

Purchase Award, Feats of Clay XVI, Lincoln, CA. May, 2003

Deans Small Grant, (Graduate project grant), University of Colorado, March, 1995

First Place Award, Juried Undergraduate Exhibit, Penn State University, March, 1991

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