June 24, 2019 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Friday, July 5, 2019 - Sunday, January 5, 2020

Susan Folwell: Through the Looking Glass

Galleries: Dorothy and Jack Brandenburg Gallery and Studio 238
Susan Folwell, Vanishing, micaecous clay and paintSusan Folwell, “Baking Bread” and “Sleeping Model." Both made in 2018 of Santa Clara clay, acrylic, wood stain, and india. Courtesy of Rich and Carol Rinehart and  private collection, Baton Rouge.  Susan Folwell, "Bringers of Rain,” 2018. Santa Clara clay, acrylic, wood stain, and india ink. Courtesy of Charles KingSusan Folwell, “The Vanishing,” 2017. Santa Clara clay, acrylic, wood stain, and india ink . Courtesy of the Martha Pezrow  and the Birmingham Museum of ArtSusan Folwell, “Rock Art,“ 2017. Hand coiled, Santa Clara clay, relief carved, wood stain, India ink and acrylic. Courtesy of Jerry Cowdrey
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Susan Folwell (Mesa Flower) is a Santa Clara Pueblo potter who combines traditional materials and methods with modern themes. Her work speaks to the contemporary confluence of Indian identity. While Folwell uses traditional clay and firing techniques, her unique contributions are in her designs and forms. She creates compositions with symbols from many Indian cultures. For the Studio 238 exhibit, Folwell’s works will be installed in the Dorothy & Jack Brandenburg Gallery, home to the Harwood’s collection of Taos Society of Artists. A new conversation of these classic works with Folwell’s contemporary works will be on display, with the gallery being rehung for this special summer exhibition.

 “We are excited to feature Susan’s works alongside the museum’s Taos Society of Artist masterpieces. It feels necessary in 2019 to revisit these works in a new light. The juxtaposition of Susan’s works next to key works from the collection draws attention to the stories being told in the paintings and on the pottery, thus better understanding who is doing the storytelling,” Curator of Exhibitions, J. Matthew Thomas explains.
Born and raised in Santa Clara Pueblo, Folwell grew up immersed in the world of traditional pueblo pottery. It is the use of native clays and interpreting native designs which creates the foundation for her art. Inspired by personal and world events, Folwell’s pottery blends a catharsis of the spirit with a love of the clay. Coil by coil, each piece is slowly brought to life. The form becomes the canvas for her designs, which are carved, etched and painted onto and into the clay. The designs are a beautiful and cautious blend of innovation and tradition, ideal and metaphor, spiritual and social. When each piece is finished, Folwell knows as an artist that she has presented a moment of herself into the clay and her personal expression continues to find voice in her art.
Folwell grew up in a pottery making family. Her grandmother is Rose Naranjo, her mother Jody Folwell and her sister is Polly Rose Folwell. Susan recalled, "As a child, I helped my mom. Honestly, it was a chore." Susan loved art, but did not plan to be a potter. She studied design and fine art photography at the Center of Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. She found that it did not give her the artistic freedom she wanted. So she returned to the clay. Now she takes pride in being an independent artist. Folwell’s work has been exhibited at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C., The Heard Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Art and Design in New York City, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, to name just a few. Her work can be found in collections around the world including the Heard Museum, Denver Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian/Smithsonian, the Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, and many more.
Meet the Artist on July 5, 2019, from 4 – 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the Harwood Museum of Art at 575.758.9826 x 109 or go to harwoodmuseum.org.