Michelle Matthews’ “Sculpted” at Lawndale

by Ellen H. Ray March 24, 2018

Michelle Matthews’ site-specific clay sculptures sit on the lawn at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston looking like a cross between termite mounds and figures. Each structure is made of raw clay, often mixed clay types in the same piece. Formed by coiling and carving, they range in size from about two feet tall to perhaps six or seven feet tall, each unique. On the whole, nine raw and organic sculptures set together on a lawn in an urban environment make for a nice impact. As you meander between them, some take on a figurative presence. Most have holes, crevasses or divots inviting you to peer inside and and wondering if it’s okay to touch. I found a few of the forms suggestive of the female body, one even having a womb-like opening with a smaller form inside of it.

What’s interesting is that Matthews paired her own determined hand with the unpredictable effect of the weather. When I visited the installation, red clay rivulets were visible as they ran down onto blueish gray clay forms.The holes and crevasses offer a great opportunity for rain and wind to make their mark.

The show is up though March 25. I’ll be sure to see them again just before they go.

(Top image: Peter Molick. Images courtesy Lawndale.)

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