Kristen Newell’s I Can’t Control It at WOLFS

Artist Kristen Newell flanked by two works in her upcoming exhibition at Wolfs Gallery

Sculpting has been a thread through sculptor and ceramicist Kristen Newell’s life beginning with small animals made of Sculpey™ clay. These days, she creates larger than life figures at her studio in the Hildebrandt Artist Collective. Two figures, I know it Isn’t Right (2023) and Point of Contact (2023)—Kristen’s latest works—are of the raw clay body style that she has been refining, spending more time scraping and carving than characteristic of many ceramic artists. This technique allows finer details to be seen. “I have a desire to create sympathetic figures promoting kindness and portraying emotions not always obvious, not always revealed.”

In this vein, Kristen does not mask cracks from the kiln. “They’re natural, a map of what a piece has been through, they show its vulnerability and when reinforced, become the strongest parts of the sculpture.”

“I can’t remember a time where I didn’t want to do this.”

When discussing her upcoming exhibition at WOLFS Gallery, Newell spoke of the huge influence her artistic family has had on her. Newell’s maternal side of the family was more academically-oriented towards the arts, whereas her paternal side of the family’s approach was a more spirited one, often throwing wild fiddle parties. Coming from a long line of artists, authors and musicians, being an artist is in her DNA.

Encouraged since childhood, the positive feedback Kristen received bolstered her realization that she would grow up to become an artist. At the age of seventeen, her high school chose to purchase one of her drawings, the first she ever sold. She then went on to study at the University of Vermont and spent an eye-opening semester at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Her college years were a time of success and struggle, both with instructors and herself.

Upon graduating from the University of Vermont, Kristen immediately moved back to Cleveland, where she began a three-year internship and six-month artist residency at BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio in Collinwood. “BRICK is where I really developed the skill to create large-scale pieces. I finally had access to a large kiln and the ability to work with a community of artists sharing knowledge and sharing techniques.”

The exhibition, I Can’t Control It, will open from 5 to 8pm on Friday, April 14, and remain on view through May 27, from 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

23645 Mercantile Road

Beachwood, Ohio, 44122


I Can’t Control It: Kristen Newell, April 14–May 27. Opening reception 5-8pm Friday, April 14