Skip to content

Press Release

Because of the scale of my work, if I make something precious and detailed, it pulls you in. You stay longer and get sucked into my world. –Kathy Butterly, BOMB Magazine

For nearly 30 years, New York-based artist Kathy Butterly has created striking ceramic sculptures with a powerful individuality that evince her technical mastery of the medium. Clay allows Butterly to work with color in three dimensions, pushing her materials to their expressive and physical limits. Her unparalleled explorations of form and color continue to expand the field of contemporary studio ceramics. While Butterly works on an intimate scale, complexity, virtuosity, and rigor are condensed in her vessels, each creating an expansive universe of its own.

All the works in this presentation for the ADAA Art Show begin as a single cast vessel form, akin to a readymade. Butterly pours wet porcelain clay into a plaster mold, manipulating the unfired clay by pinching, pulling, folding, and carving, until she feels the work’s distinct form emerge. Each sculpture is subsequently fired and glazed repeatedly—up to 20 times—allowing her to build color and texture with accumulated layers of glaze and hand-carved ornamentation. Here, a relatively uniform shape is transformed through glazing, coloration, and ornamentation, parsing the balance between uniformity and difference. For this presentation, Butterly has employed a reduced palette heavy on lush greens, whites, blacks, yellows and blues. Yet with this limited palette, she is still able to create an expansive landscape in each work that explores how color reacts and evokes mood.


Concurrently, James Cohan will exhibit Kathy Butterly: A beloved collection, a special presentation of sculptures from 1994-2022 at 48 Walker from November 1–11, 2023. Kathy Butterly will be the subject of a major survey exhibition at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, New York, in Fall 2025 with a substantial career-spanning catalogue.

Back To Top