Wolfs is pleased to present the exhibition and sale Kristen Newell: “Unfolding,” featuring the works of American contemporary sculptor and ceramicist Kristen Newell (American, b. 1989).
A rising star in Cleveland, Newell’s emotional, figurative sculpture is instantly compelling and leaves one wanting to know more. “We first found her work in the window of our framer’s shop and found our way back to her studio in an old Cleveland industrial building, where we met the brilliant, hard-working artist amidst a gaggle of other captivating work, leading to Wolfs first exhibition of work by a younger-living artist,” Michael Wolf commented.
“I have a desire to create sympathetic figures promoting kindness and portraying emotions not always obvious, not always revealed,” Newell said. In this vein, Kristen does not mask cracks from the kiln. “They're natural, a map of what a piece has been through, they show its vulnerability and when reinforced, become the strongest parts of the sculpture.”
Kristen Newell was born in a small town on the coast of Massachusetts, where from a very early age, she demonstrated a strong propensity for the arts. Important additional inspiration came from her family and from the family of a childhood friend, where Kristen found herself surrounded by the work of Paul Manship, her friend’s grandfather and one of America’s greatest sculptors.
With increased focus on her art, along with winning numerous awards throughout high school, Newell eagerly enrolled in the arts program at University of Vermont and augmented her studies with a valuable year at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Upon graduation, Newell moved back to Cleveland to begin her art career and started participating in group shows, including River Gallery and the Ohio State Fair. In 2016, she began an internship at Brick Ceramic + Design Studio, a well-known hub for Cleveland ceramicists. In 2019, she had her first solo exhibition at Brick, and has since shown work at Gallery U, Abattoir Gallery, Waterloo Arts and Wolfs.
In the spring of 2021, Newell worked with artist Anna Chapman, creating an immersive-themed show at Waterloo Arts, and in 2022, participated in the CAN Triennial of Northeast Ohio, where a work of hers was purchased by the Cleveland Art Association (Carta).
Today, Newell’s primary medium is clay, creating dimensional sculptures and relief tiles, while continuing to paint and work with mixed media. She recently added the art of creating large-scale parade puppets to her bailiwick. Of late, Newell draws inspiration and perspective from a broad swath of subject matter, including biological systems, philosophy, history, psychology, literature, and architecture. As a process artist, her works unfold as conversation between form and content, playing with scale, color, and material to tell stories and convey feeling. Newell also teaches, working within underserved neighborhoods, offering classes in local artistic spaces, as well as working with individuals to facilitate custom ceramics projects.