Artist Michelle Gregor, whose ceramic figures radiate an aura of burnished grace, knows how to create balance in her work. She has a tremendous feeling for the marriage between form and surface and an intuitive sense for the way a completed work can simultaneously suggest ephemerality and timelessness.
Considered a leading figure in the second generation of Bay Area Figuration, Gregor is a multifaceted artist who works in clay, bronze, paint and drawing media, handling each medium with a process-oriented and intuitive approach that results in painterly forms and images. She has a masterful, intuitive sense of color that unifies her productions in various media and endows all of her work with a painterly vigor that reflects her Bay Area roots and also her deep understanding of
Over time, the human figure has become one of Gregor’s most important vehicles. “The figure has served as the best method of transport throughout my many years of practice,” Gregor notes. Gregor begins her ceramic figures by working “from the feet up,” a habit that goes back to her early work as a maker of what she calls “animated vessels.” Gregor’s sculptures have remarkably nuanced surfaces that are the end product of a great deal of improvisation and hard work. Each piece goes through as many as seven or eight firings at a high temperature (low stoneware) setting that gives them their characteristic hard surfaces. Using water as a medium, Gregor applies color in pools, patches and slashes, letting gravity have its way with the wet pigments. “I like working with water as a medium for color both in fired clay work and on canvas and paper,” Gregor explains. “It pools, drips, follows contour, dries slowly and has a beautiful life of its own.”time.”