San Pablo, CA
Handbuilt clay, englobes and stains
“Laughing Cat is from a series of works that I have been producing for the past 10 years. The figures are children, and the surface treatment is a key metaphor for the process of “weathering” or growing older—while still remembering the magic of childhood. I work exclusively in clay, as it is a plastic, forgiving material that can be manipulated to mimic other materials such as wood, cloth, and metal. Each piece has an oblique narrative—about the process of living life and remembering. My figures recall the “Santos” figures of Mexico and Central America and they incorporate a reproduced 19th century doll head. This ‘borrowing’ of earlier styles gives the work its ageless quality. My work reflects my state of being and has always been female—an autobiographical element. I strive to record my feelings and insight in a way that can resonate with everyone. I am a passionate practitioner of the process of art making—I also teach it, which is rewarding and wonderful.” Margaret Keelan received a BA in art from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and a MFA from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Exhibited extensively, her work has won numerous awards, and has been published in books and magazines. She is Associate Director of Sculpture at the San Francisco Academy of Art University and has presented workshops throughout the United States.