Warm Waters: Allison Luce

ANFA welcomes another new artist to our roster for the exhibition WARM WATERS. Allison graduated with dual BFA degrees in Painting and Art History from Ohio University, and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. An avid traveler, Allison has visited over 25 countries, deeply inspired by myriad forms of marine life found across the world. She has been a resident artist in Denmark, Germany, Canada and the US at Charlotte’s own renowned McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

How did you begin to work with ceramics? 

While my degrees are in Painting and Art History, I took ceramics classes during college which sparked my interest in working in 3-D. After college, I continued to take ceramics classes then began teaching ceramics at art centers and at the college level. 

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?          

Nature and Art History. My studio is filled with photographs of nature and images from my travels. I have traveled to over 25 countries and have been fortunate to see all different types of artwork.

Allison’s home studio

Which artists influence your work the most?

After studying abroad in Italy and teaching as Guest Faculty for Gordon College in Orvieto, Italy, I find that I am most influences by Italian artists. I am drawn to artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini and Artemesia Gentileschi. In the contemporary realm I am inspired by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Petah Coyne, & Kiki Smith.

Disquisition, Ancient Expanse installation, ANFA

You have a slightly different technique than traditional ceramicists — describe your process.

Since I come from a painting background, I love to layer colors in my ceramic work. I shy away from traditional glazes focusing instead on oxides, underglazes, paints & stains. I usually fire my pieces at least twice in order to layer oxides and underglazes.

Do you have a favorite work (installation, painting, or other) that you have ever created?

I was pleased with my installation at The Mint Museum in the 80 x 80 Exhibition in 2016. That was an exciting show to participate in. 

Ancient Expanse installation, Mint Museum, 80×80 exhibition

If you could go to dinner with one artist (alive or dead) who would it be? Where would you take them?

Bernini. Any restaurant in Rome. I am fascinated with his artwork and have made a point of trying to see most of his sculptures in Rome. I am getting closer. I have mapped them out and go from church to church and museum to museum trying to see them all. My favorite is The Ecstasy of St. Teresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. I have visited this particular sculpture at least 10 times.

The Ecstasy of St Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Santa Maria ...
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, Bernini

What are you currently listening to?

I actually listen to a lot of Italian Pop to try to keep up my study of Italian. I love artists like Annalisa, Francesca Michielin, Francesco Regna, Lorenzo Fragola, etc…

Favorite drink when you’re on the boat?     


Are there any books or podcasts that you highly recommend?

Podcasts: Makers & Mystics from The Breath & The Clay. I read Sculpture magazine and IMAGE Journal. I listen to art/ history documentaries while working in my studio.

With our theme of WARM WATERS.. if you could be anywhere right now, what is your dream trip?      

My husband and I were planning on taking a month long trip to Asia in 2021. Hopefully we will still be able to go!

Close detail of Luce’s fired clay, oxides, + mixed media pieces

“’Ancient Expanse’ explores the boundaries between perception, reality, time and space. The colors and patterns of the individual sculptures reference ocean life as well as textures found in nature. ‘Ancient Expanse’ is playful and engaging and causes the viewer to stop and think about what they are seeing. There is an element of surprise as people realize that they are not actually looking at real objects, but sculptural forms that reference nature. It blends the natural with an element
of discovery that engages the community in a dialogue about perception and reality.”

Allison Luce

Allison’s ‘Ancient Expanse’ installations are available for site specific install. Also available are small shadow boxes and individual ceramic pieces. Stop by the gallery to see her work in person.

Logan Sutton, Gallery Curator