Anna Sew Hoy

Anna Sew HoyArtist’s Statement

In my work, I combine handmade ceramic elements with ubiquitous bits from life – cellphone chargers, jeans, beer cans.  The slowness of the handmade collides with symbols of speedy communication and global junk, to create totemic forms. As our world becomes more industrialized and corporate, I want my work to point towards the making and use of hand-crafted things. When the clay “bodies” in my work are mixed with repurposed bits of consumer culture, eras collide, so that the work exists in both the past of an ancient medium and our present time.

For me, sculpture-making is a physical process of thought. I am interacting with the world through the making of new forms, and the reframing of the familiar. Clay is a great medium to express the physical world because it is so active – moving from wet to dry, soft to hard, and through various states of fragility and strength.  My clay bodies oppose, as Benjamin Buchloh says, “the loss and the repression of bodily plenitude under the conditions of industrially enforced consumption.” I imagine a different world of intimate spaces and living amongst objects without being alienated by them.

Passing between sculpture and functional object, my work melds use-value and aesthetic-value to create an uncanny hybrid. It follows us around from exhibition space to home. It reflects our many encounters with objects, from the wearing of one’s favorite sweater, to the contemplation of an object on a pedestal. My work takes various forms, from social monument, to pedestal sculpture, to tissue-dispenser for the bedroom. Here, the act of pulling a tissue to wipe my eye becomes a performance, a ritual.  This is not a tea ceremony, but simple self-maintenance, framed.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1976. Lives and works in Los Angeles.



Solo Exhibitions

Home Office, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA

Tissues &Trench Coats, Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Nothing All Day: Anna Sew Hoy, San Jose Museum of Art, CA

Holes, Sikkema, Jenkins & Co., New York, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions

Prospect 2013, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

The More Things Change, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Paul Clay, Salon 94, New York
Greater LA, curated by Eleanor Cayce, Joel Messler, and Benjamin Godsill, New York

Selected Community-Based Artwork

Planets Making Planets, A LAND Program, Nomadic Nights: Performance with Math Bass and Claire Kohne, at Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA

Fertility Spell, Performance with Jen Smith for Meigth Day, at LAXART, Los Angeles, CA
Fellowships and Awards

Artist in Residence with Pearl C. Hsiung at Heart of Los Angeles, supported by the Rauschenberg Foundation

Artists’ Resource for Completion Grant, Durfee Foundation, Los Angeles


Bard College, MFA

School of Visual Arts, BFA, with Honors