New alt_space Exhibition in November October 20 2017

Kelly Berning

On View: November 4 - December 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 4, 4-7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, December 8, 11 AM



Kelly Berning has been working with clay for over 25 years and is known for her whimsical figurative sculptures.  For this exhibition, Unconditional, she reflects on her experiences as a woman and mother, using symbols to reference concepts such as innocence, protection, growth, and love. In her artist statement, she elaborates on some of these symbols, such as the use of the heart motif to express love or to pay tribute to loved ones that have passed, or the use of adult- and child-sized hands to represent a strong family bond. 

In addition to her work being introspective, she hopes to tap into the viewer’s own reflections of their youth, paying homage to their inner child. She also, at times, delves deeper, commenting on underlying conflicts between one’s childhood innocence and the process of transitioning into the world of adult emotions. She explains, “I find these areas of mental transition and growth intriguing, and the collaborative interactions of the subconscious and conscious forces to be metaphorical illustrations of our own conversion to individualism.”

As a whole, Kelly has created these figures as a “catalyst for living vicariously through a child’s innocent eyes.” And she goes on to say that “they are directly influenced by a child’s world, and the constant worry a mother feels trying to keep her child safe in our perilous society. Because there has been so much sadness in the world lately, I was compelled to create sculptures that offer comfort, peace, and freedom. In short, this body of work is about love.”


Kelly received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics, at California State University, Chico. Between 2001 and 2012, she taught college-level ceramics in Tennessee and Southern California. She currently lives in Florida where she works as a full-time mom and artist. Through the years Kelly’s work has evolved into whimsical figurative sculptures. She has exhibited nationally and has been the recipient of several awards including 1st Place in the ACGA Clay and National Juried Competition and has had various publications including A Ceramic Guide, 500 Figures In Clay, Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times Magazine and Dick Blick Artist's Resources.  Kelly also enjoys creating functional ceramics.