Born in Lafayette, Indiana to parents of Chinese immigrants, ceramicist Beth Lo makes work about family, culture and language. Her Good Children vessels and sculptures garnered her fellowships from United States Artists and the National Endowment for the Arts. She taught ceramics at the University of Montana from 1985-2016, and is also a children’s book illustrator and professional bass player.
My artistic practice in ceramics and mixed media revolves primarily around concepts of identity, family and influences from my Asian-American background. Since the birth of my son in 1987, I have been drawing inspiration from events in my family’s history, the day-to-day challenges of parenting, and my own childhood memories of being raised as a minority in the United States. Cultural marginality and blending, tradition vs. Westernization, language and translation are key elements in my work. Within this context I can explore wide-ranging narratives about appropriation, representation, food, rituals or Asian aesthetics, draw from historical or political references, or address autobiographical issues of aging and inheritance. My linear visual style pays homage to the calligraphic line of traditional Chinese painting as well as comic culture of the West. I use the image of a child as reference to autobiography and a symbol of innocence, potential and vulnerability.