Chester Springs, PA, USA
Constance McBride delves into gender-based issues with ceramic sculpture and installations. Recent awards include a CFEVA (Center for Emerging Visual Artists) 2023 New Courtland Teaching Fellowship, a position in the 2021 Chautauqua Visual Arts Summer Residency Program in Chautauqua, New York and grants from The Puffin Foundation, Philadelphia Sculptors and Phoenix Art Museum's Contemporary Forum. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including at the Abington Art Center (PA), Phoenix Art Museum (AZ), The Delaware Contemporary (DE), The Clay Studio (PA), Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts (MT) and San Angelo Museum of Art (TX). It has received attention from several publications including Yahoo News Cities Rising series, Philly Artblog, Phoenix Magazine and the international platforms Inspirational and Ceramics Now. McBride teaches sculpture and hand building at various art centers in PA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arcadia University, Glenside, PA.
My work throws light on issues experienced by most women—from becoming aware of the male gaze and self-objectifying, to harassment, abuse, marginalization and ageism. Simultaneously, women struggle to remain relevant, take care of their physical and mental health, and maintain financial stability. I've had firsthand experience with all of it; from finding my way as a young single mother to having spent a large chunk of my adult years in a male dominated corporate world, to navigating the art world later in life. My uncompromising figures are informed by these matters. I create deliberate parallels between my materials and how women are treated in society. I often use clay—a medium historically excluded from the fine art world—to illustrate how age is explicitly linked to failure for women. The pieces are hand built and sometimes include bits of fabric, found objects, metals and nature. I apply surface treatments like graphite, pastels, oxides, stains and wax to emphasize the textures and characteristics of living, breathing skin. I display my figures as solitary objects on plinths or hung on walls to create an intimate viewing experience, or as part of larger installations—interacting with paintings, collages and other related works to foster an immersive environment.