The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University on Feb. 23 will open an exhibit of Paul S. Briggs’s ceramic art, Knot Stories: The Showcase Exhibition. Knot Stories is an exhibition of ceramic sculpture inspired by Black Poetry transmuting stories of suffering into songs of perseverance. In his artist statement Briggs quotes American philosopher-activist Cornell West: “Justice is what love looks like in the public sphere.”
Born in Beacon, NY, Briggs grew up in the Hudson Valley region. He has studied educational theory and policy, art education, theology, sculpture, and ceramics. Along the way he graduated from Alfred University with an M.S.ED degree in 1995 with a concentration in ceramic art. He holds an MFA and a PhD as well. Currently Briggs is a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston.
ACAM Director Wayne Higby comments that Briggs arrived in one of his ceramic classes 29 years ago. “He was of a philosophical mind, and we had many long conversations,” Higby says. “We stayed in touch to this day. Briggs is one of a group of stellar, contemporary ceramic artists doing highly personal and momentous work, and the Museum is honored to have the opportunity to exhibit his sculpture.”
About Paul S. Briggs
Born in Beacon, NY in 1963, Paul Briggs has an extensive background in art education, ceramics, and spiritual leadership. Briggs explores issues around social justice through two building processes that are at the fore of his practice: pinch-formed vessels and slab built sculptural forms, which are often vessel-like. He describes his pinching process as being neither additive nor subtractive but expansive.
Paul Briggs’ inspirational sources include nature and the reinterpretation of classical forms. By creating functional and non-functional work, the majority of his sculptures are ceramic; others are mixed media incorporating felt and plywood as well as fired clay.
In 2018, he was awarded a South Eastern Minnesota Arts Council Grant for the installation, Cell Persona: The Impact of Incarceration on Black Lives. Paul is an Artist in Residence at the Harvard Ceramics Program and an Associate Professor of Art Education at MassArt. He lives and works in Boston, MA.