Betty Woodman began her career in the 1950s as a production potter with the aim of creating beautiful objects to enhance everyday life. Since then, the vase form has become Woodman's subject, product, and muse. In deconstructing and reconstructing its form, she has created an exuberant and complex body of ceramic sculpture. Its signature is its reflection of a wide range of influences and traditions and an inventive use of color. Many of these traditions Woodman has experienced first-hand: she has traveled extensively, finding inspiration in cultures around the world.
Woodman studied ceramics at The School for American Craftsmen at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, from 1948-1950. She has received many honors including a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the Bellagio Study Center, Bellagio, Italy, 1995; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1980 and 1986; and a Fullbright-Hays Scholarship to Florence Italy, 1966. Woodman began teaching at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1979, and was made Professor Emeritus in 1998.
Over the course of her lengthy career, Woodman has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally. Most recently these include her retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Art of Betty Woodman
, 2006; as well as Theatres of Betty Woodman
at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, 2005, traveling to the Ariana Museum, Geneva, Switzerland, 2006; and begin with her first solo show, Salt Glaze
at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 1970. Since 1983, Woodman has shown regularly at Max Protetch Gallery, New York.
Woodman's work has frequently been included in group exhibitions since 1968 and is part of more than fifty public collections, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; International Ceramic Museum, Faenza, Italy; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Musée des Arts Decoratifs Paris, France; Museum of Decorative Arts of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; World Ceramic Center, Ichon, Korea.
Critics have also recognized the value of Woodman’s contribution to dialogues in both ceramics and art. Her monograph, Betty Woodman
(New York: The Monacelli Press, 2006) includes essays by Janet Koplos, Barry Schwabsky, and Arthur Danto.
Biography courtesy of Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY, USA
School for the American Craftsman, Alfred University, Alfred, NY, USA (1948-1950)
mother of Francesca Woodman
wife of George Woodman
collaborated with Cynthia Carlson
collaborated with Joyce Kozloff
Honorary Fellowship, National Council of Educators in Ceramic Arts, Erie, CO, USA (2000)
Visionary Award, American Craft Museum, New York, NY, USA (1998)
Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Study and Conference Center, Bellagio, Italy (1995)