Coup d'Oeil #6, 2013 Kathy Venter
Coup d’Oeil #6, 2013 Kathy Venter

Kathy Venter is internationally recognized for her life-sized, figurative sculptures. Originally from South Africa, the artist has lived in Canada for more than twenty years, creating monumental ceramic sculptures modeled after members of her own community. Using the human body as a timeless sculptural theme, Venter draws from a vast array of cultural and historical sources, while staying firmly grounded in the present.

LIFE marks Venter’s much-anticipated return to BAM after being featured in theBAM Biennial 2010: Clay Throwdown! exhibition, the Museum’s first comprehensive survey of contemporary ceramic arts in the Pacific Northwest. Venter’s new solo exhibition continues her dialogue with time, femininity, and community, rewarding visitors with a sense of open, poignant serenity. On view from March 7 through June 15, 2014, the exhibition features more than 30 sculptures, including the never-before-seen series MetaNarrative as well as many of the artist’s signature pieces.

Employing the ancient technique of hand-coiling and pinching, Venter works from the feet up without the use of molds or internal armature. The majority of the works are full-scale figures of women—standing, sitting, reclining, or suspended in space. Often nude, each work is rendered naturalistically emphasizing its immediacy and timelessness.

Perhaps the most striking influence in Venter’s work is that of the Tanagra figures of the Mycenaean period. Encrusted and worn from centuries of burial, they provide inspiration for the provocative surface treatment the artist applies. Other references include the terracotta warriors of Chinese Emperor Qin’s army, ancient Greek and Etruscan sculpture, and African tribal rites, among others.

Originally organized by the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, BAM is the only U.S. venue to host this powerful exhibition continuing its commitment to presenting artists who push the limits within their craft while fostering intercultural exchange.

Kathy Venter: LIFE is organized by Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Canada. Onsite Curator Stefano Catalani.

Join the artist for a discussion on her work in LIFE and learn how she creates her life-sized ceramic sculptures without the use of molds or armatures. FF Talks are a monthly event bringing artists and experts in the field in the field of art, craft, and design to BAM to share their knowledge and engage with audiences. Attendees are invited to RSVP on our website.

FF Talks are presented in partnership with the Rita & Herbert Rosen Family Foundation.

Bellevue Arts Museum is a leading destination in the Pacific Northwest to experience art, craft, and design. BAM engages the community through exhibitions, programs, and publications, featuring regional, national, and international artists. Visit to learn more.

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