Shaping Memories:¬

Expressions in Clay

November 27, 2021-March 6, 2022

The power of memory is immeasurable. Individual recollections are the building blocks of our sense of self, while collective memories help define our culture. In this exhibition, six artists use clay to explore formative moments in their lives as well as stories passed down through generations, inviting viewers to consider both the uniqueness of every individual and our shared identities.

Clay has been used to create functional and decorative objects for millennia. The artists in Shaping Memories continue the rich artistic tradition of clay, exploring its creative potential and versatility. A ceramic object can preserve information about the society in which it was made for thousands of years, a charge these artists take seriously in the creation of their work. What happens when people, cultures, and traditions are forgotten, and histories are erased? How can objects help us remember, honor, and share stories of our time?

Pattie Chalmers
Roberto Lugo
Hollie Lyko
Jiha Moon
Rae Stern
Ehren Tool

Organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Alison Byrne, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Education.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor Atlantic Union Bank with additional support from Dr. Jordan Asher and Ms. Jody Mattison, and The Lynn and Rachel Schoenbaum Fund.


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Listen to the Shaping Memories: Expressions in Clay Audio Tour. Hear from the artists directly about their work on view at Virginia MOCA.


Hear from the artists

Roberto Lugo grew up in a North Philadelphia neighborhood better known for poverty and crime than for pottery. Yet the 40-year-old artist’s ceramics, featuring the faces of his personal heroes, put a modern spin on classic teapots.