Beth Cavener Stichter

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Beth Cavener Stichter
Born 25 December 1972 (1972-12-25) (age 42)
Pasadena, California
Occupation Sculptor
[[1] Official website]

Beth Cavener Stichter is full-time professional studio artist residing in the U.S. state of Washington.

Stichter focuses her sculpture on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal forms. “On the surface,” says Stichter, “these figures are simply feral animals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface, they embody the consequences of human fear, apathy, aggression, and misunderstanding”. In making these painstakingly modeled works Stichter has learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; “rely[ing] on animal body language in [her] work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits. Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions, both an invitation and a rebuke.” [1]



Cavener Stichter was born in Pasadena, California in 1972. She was born the daughter of a molecular biologist and an art teacher. As Cavener Stichter writes, ”The connections between art and science have always been at the heart of my work. My mother, a ceramicist, and my father, a molecular biologist, raised me with an appreciation for the world on its most minute and grandiose scale. From my mother I learned the language of clay and the power of ideas passed through hands. My father and I spent hours staring at the night sky, while he stretched the seams of my imagination with tales of recombinant DNA and evolutionary battles on the microscopic scale. Every moment of my memory has been spent investigating the natural world around me.” [2]

Cavener Stichter went on to pursue her studies in physics and astronomy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Though intent early on in her education in following her father’s footsteps with a career in science, Cavener Stichter switched her major her last year of undergraduate studies to Fine Art and received a BA in Sculpture. [3]

Cavener Stichter's interests in science and art persisted through her early professional career. Though she had been trained in the classical atelier style through the art department at Haverford College, the Cecil Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, and through an apprenticeship with sculptor, Alan LeQuire in Nashville, Tennessee, she was drawn to the surrealist movement of the 1920's, and more contemporary narrative artists, such as Francis Bacon, Joel-Peter Witkin, George Tooker, and Odd Nerdrum. After spending four years in Columbus, Ohio, developing her artistic style and voice, Cavener Stichter entered graduate school at The Ohio State University, where she received her Master's in Fine Arts degree in ceramics. In her thesis exhibition, "tremble shiver," made the transition from working with human figuration to using the human-scaled portrayal of the animal body to express human emotion and psychological portraits.

Following her master's studies at Ohio State University, Cavener Stichter spent two years as a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and completed a brief Guest Artist residency at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After this intense period of development where she continued to work on life-size and larger scale works, she was represented by the Garth Clark Gallery in New York, NY. Her first solo exhibition with the gallery, "A Modest Proposal" was shown in 2006.

In 2008, Cavener Stichter joined the Claire Oliver Gallery on 26th St. and 10th Ave, New York City, New York. She opened her most recent show “On Tender Hooks” October 22, 2009.


Cavener Stichter's working method is unusual - she builds her stoneware sculptures solid on metal armatures, often with 2,000 or more pounds of clay at a time, then cuts the piece into 30-160 sections, hollows each section out to 1/4" thickness, and reassembles them before firing. In order to work on a larger scale, the reassembled hollow pieces are then cut again to fit inside the kiln, fired, and then reassembled with glues and epoxies. A slideshow of this process can be seen on her website under the Materials and Techniques section.


2009 Artist Trust Individual Art Fellowship
2006 Jean Griffith Fellowship
2005 Virginia A. Groot Award, First Prize
2005 Individual Artist Fellowship, Ohio Arts Council
2003 Emerging Artist Grant, American Craft Council

Museum Collections

Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY
Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Houston, TX
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane, WA
Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2009 "On Tender Hooks" Claire Oliver Gallery, New York,NY
2008 "Apologia" Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d’Alene, ID
2006 "A Modest Proposal" Garth Clark Gallery, New York,NY
2005 "The Wildness Within" G-Spot Gallery, NCECA, Baltimore,MD
2004 Contemporary Crafts Museum, ACC Grant Exhibition, Portland,OR
2003 "Animal Body, Human Space" Archie Bray Foundation, Helena,MT
2002 "tremble, shiver" MFA Exhibition, Columbus,OH
2000 Acme Art Company, Columbus,OH


“Innovation & Change: Ceramics from the Arizona State University Art Museum” by Peter Held, Arizona State University Art Museum, 2009, ISBN 0981795730

“Confrontational Ceramics” by Judith Schwartz, University of Pennsylvania Press, August 2008, ISBN 9780812241396

“Clay in Art International Yearbook 06/07” by Kostas Tarkasis (ed.), Clay Art International, 2008

“A Human Impulse: Figuration from the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection” by Peter Held, Arizona State University Art Museum, 2008, ISBN 0977762475

“From the Ground Up: Renwick Craft Invitational 2007” by Jane Milosch and Suzanne Frantz, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2007, ISBN 0979067812

“Beth Cavener Stichter” by Garth Clark, Garth Clark Gallery, 2006

500 Animals in Clay: Contemporary Expressions of the Animal Form by Joe Bova, Lark Books, November 2006, ISBN 978-1579907570

500 Figures in Clay: Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form by Veronika Alice Gunter, Lark Books, September 2004, ISBN 978-1579905477


New York Times Article

Spokesman Review Article

Washington Post Article

External links

  • [2] Artist’s Website
  • [3] The Claire Oliver Gallery- representing Beth Cavener Stichter
  • [4] ArtNet page on Cavener Stichter
  • [5] The Archie Bray Foundation
  • [6] Artist Entry on AccessCeramics