Rebecca Manson is a New York-born artist, known for her porcelain sculptures and wall reliefs that are constructed from small bits of extended ceramic shapes, resembling skeletons, bones or various everyday objects.
Manson was born in New York in 1989. She attended Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in Providence, RI, where she took a lot of furniture classes, some print making classes, and art history. Eventually, ceramics become the place where the artist felt the most free and that became her major. She got her BFA in Ceramics in 2011.
Rebecca Manson makes a series of marks and strokes with small bits of clay, in varying shades of off-white with hints of color. These small gestural marks Manson then combines into her large-scale sculptures and wall reliefs. Manson’s porcelain and epoxy wall pieces appear as ‘sculptural paintings’ in their shape, form and context. Comprised of many individual small thin elongated ceramic shapes resembling nails, the totality of these works have the physicality of human skeletons and collections of small bones. Sometimes resembling an archaeological excavation, the resulting sculptures are simultaneously haunting and elegant.
Before her present recognizable style of ceramics, Manson’s work was focused on balance and getting things to stand on two feet. That was a huge struggle especially working with heavy, sharp, and delicate things. Working with the subject matter, the idea of bones and the idea of attaching these different limbs together very much came from working at the museum of Natural History, where the artist did fabrication work in the exhibition department.
Through porcelain sculptures of skeletons and bones, a spectrum of social structures are depicted. In abstract works, simple lines form a woven fabric of limbs, and in which with the loss of one seemingly insignificant bone, the whole tapestry would weaken. In her artist statement, she explains that her work explores the power that people have when they come together, whether it be benevolent or threatening. As the artist herself states, ‘Relationships between the objects echo the relationship between the viewer and the work, tied by a shared intimacy. Through form and surface, I investigate the ways in which memories are built and stored in the home.’
Rebecca Manson’s first solo exhibition was in 2011, titled The Body Breaks. Since then, her work was featured in several group and solo exhibitions across the United States.
Manson currently lives and works in Bedford Hills, NY.