Zoë Powell is a studio ceramist at Studio Alluvium, a gallery and native clay production studio she co-founded with her partner Mitch Iburg in St. Paul, Minnesota. With a B.A. in Fine Arts and a B.S. in Biology, Zoë has a fascination with biological development and strives to incorporate a feeling of skeletal structure in all her pieces. The works consist of organic sculptural vessels made from clays and minerals she collects and processes herself. By working with locally sourced materials, she aims for the full responsibility of the material by honoring it throughout the production process.
She is interested in psychological pathology and is currently working on a series focused on transitional space and how certain forms can evoke a sense of comfort to an otherwise vulnerable viewer. Her sculptural work serves as a formal exploration of human emotions, an attempt to visualize the intangible.
Tension, fragility, and imbalance are inspiring themes that work on both the material and ideological scales for the artist. The figurative additions are abstractions that manifest themselves in small sections of her work but do not form a whole, traditional figure. Zoe finds beauty in underlying structures pushing through to the surface of the skin. In all her works, the clay is finessed and often driven to extreme levels of attenuation. Many of her sculptures represent two forms pulling away from, or compressing against, each other. They act as metaphors for human relationships based on impending separation or forced attachment. Many people find the development of relationships to be a source of anxiety, and I attempt to express this interactive struggle through the physical movement of the clay.