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Joan Elena Goldberg was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1958. She received her BFA in painting and drawing at Cornish Institute of the Arts in Seattle, WA in 1983. In 2002, she completed her Master´s Degree in Ceramics at Instituto Allende, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

In 1989 after spending a year living in Puerto Rico and studying at the Arts Student´s League, her work took a radical shift from narrative 2 dimension on paper to 3 dimensional, representational sculpture in clay. The ceramics surface decoration techniques employed at The Art Student´s League during this time captured Ms. Goldberg´s imagination to such a degree, that she has spent the next 18 years developing her own methods with the same materials. It was also during this stay in Puerto Rico when she developed a fetish-like attraction to rusted metal, especially to decaying nails and wire.

The results of her explorations in medium, found objects and imagery have resulted in a fascinating retrospective of work that challenges the physical eye as well as the internal one. Mostly referencing her own life experiences, we are offered a unique glimpse into the heart and mind of this sometimes controversial artist.


There is nothing I do now, or have ever done, that focuses my mind and spirit as acutely and as harmoniously as does working in my studio making art. Like a moth drawn to flame I have dedicated myself to exposing my most intimate thoughts and feelings for all the world to see through a physical medium. That is why my artwork often induces strong reactions in the viewer.

My work is centered around what my mother calls a "knowing in your bones" awareness of things, that which one knows without doubt to be true. My artwork is an honest representation of my private beliefs and vision. It is the most accurate telling of personal stories in 3-dimension that I can make. To see my work is to know something of me.

I have spent enough years learning about and stumbling through a most unpredictable medium to finally be able to say I know what I am doing, or better yet, why I am doing it. Ceramics is not for everyone. Working with clay is a daily exercise in suspended expectations. I am thoroughly thrilled by the unique qualities of the images I create in clay. I do believe that I have found an original method to working with this ancient material.