Atlanta artist Michelle Laxalt describes her ceramic sculptures and works on paper as intimately-scaled, abstract, biomorphic and purposefully ambiguous.
The artist: Born and raised in Reno, NV, Laxalt graduated in 2014 from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a BFA in ceramics. She relocated to Atlanta for grad school, earning an MFA from Georgia State University in 2017.
Company/studio: Laxalt works from her home studio in Atlanta. She also has a work space at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, where she is a ceramics instructor and resident studio assistant.
In the beginning: Laxalt took her first ceramics course in 2009 and changed her major the following semester.
Art & materials:
- Hand-built ceramic sculptures using porcelain and occasionally stoneware clay. In the sculptures, which are either free-standing or wall-mounted, she uses a variety of underglazes and glazes to achieve her surfaces.
- Works on paper (collages, essentially) using imagery from magazines and other print sources.
- Textiles using a process called nuno-felting.
What’s popular: Wall-mounted ceramics ($500 to $1,800). The forms are suggestive of imaginary organs, sensual flowers, fragmented torsos, cocoons, and/or mysterious objects from the body or from nature.
“My intention is for them to appear human, animal and botanical, and appear to be simultaneously evolving and devolving, fluid and solid, foreign and familiar,” said Laxalt.
- Works on paper ($250 to $1,000) created with multiple pieces of delicately cut pieces of paper, which are arranged and glued onto watercolor paper in compositions reminiscent of botanical and anatomical illustrations.
- Smaller, more accessible ceramic sculptures ($180 to $300).
- Functional “bread and butter” pieces like bowls, planters, and jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bolo ties) that range from $30 to $80.
Favorite tools: Her hands, plus various ceramic tools (scoring tools, sponges, brushes, rubber “ribs”) and the kilns at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Also small scissors for works on paper.
Inspirations: Many, including:
- Bodies (human and non-human) and biology
- Animals and fungi
- Botanical illustrations,
- Life and death cycle
Recent awards/honors: A 2019 MINT Leap Year Fellow. MINT is a non-profit art space in Atlanta.
- A solo exhibition of ceramics and works on paper, titled “The Soft Animal of Your Body,” at Oats Park Art Center in Fallon, NV. Through June 17.
- A solo exhibition at Hi-Lo Press, a print studio and gallery in Atlanta, January 2023.
- Callanwolde Assistants and Instructors exhibition and sale at Callanwolde in Atlanta. April 13-16.
- Work included in “The Summer Invitational” exhibit at the Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, GA. May 18-July 27.
- Exhibiting in “Visible” (curated by Kristen Stingle) at The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands, NC. Sept. 30-Dec. 30.
- Two-person exhibition with Atlanta artist Jiha Moon at Olympia gallery in NYC. Aug. 19-Oct. 7. In addition to her own practice, Laxalt also makes collaborative works with Moon.
Where to buy: michellelaxalt.com
Get social: Instagram: @michellelaxalt