(Akron, Ohio, 1967 - )
Lives Cleveland, Ohio
Kristen Cliffel is a ceramic sculptor who has over the course of her career examined gender stereotypes as they play out in society and impact her personally. Cliffel graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1990 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics. Since becoming a homeowner and a mother, Cliffel has created works that respond to myths surrounding domesticity by combining exaggerated cuteness with surreal shifts in scale and jarring juxtapositions. Unlike 50s-era television housewives, today’s mothers, many of whom work outside the home, must juggle roles and responsibilities in a balancing act that Cliffel often alludes to by stacking symbolically loaded items—toys, houses, cupcakes—precariously on top of each other. Cliffel thus uses humor and seductive beauty to lure the viewer into a deeper exploration of the demands, sacrifices, joys and fears lurking beneath the surface of the American Dream.
Cliffel’s work is in many public and private collections including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Weisman Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, the Canton Museum of Art, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. Cliffel has completed residencies at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and the Kohler Company in Wisconsin. She has received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, a Creative Workforce Fellowship, and has been a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant Nominee. Cliffel’s solo shows include exhibitions in Cleveland at William Busta Gallery, Zygote Gallery and The Sculpture Center. Her work was shown at the Akron Art Museum in 1996 as part of the Ohio Perspectives: Explorations in Clay exhibition.