Margaret Keelan received her BFA at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and her MFA at the University of Utah. She has given a number of workshops, most often at the Mendocino Art Center in Northern California. In 2003 she juried the California Clay Competition and was invited to lecture on her work at the 2005 National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. Recent exhibitions include “Margaret Keelan: Old Stories, New Dreams” at the Duane Reed Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, and “Margaret Keelan, Intimate and Universal Stories” at the Lacoste Gallery in Concord, California. In 2009, Keelan received the Purchase Award for the NECEA Biennial. Her sculptures can also be seen in publications such as The Craft and Art of Clay, Ceramics Monthly, and 500 Figures in Clay: Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form. Keelan is Associate Director of the School of Fine Art Sculpture at the Academy of Art University and takes pride in the fact that her students are “fearless and honest in the expression of their ideas” and constantly challenging her to “keep running to stay ahead of them”.
“For the past few years my sculptors have been glazed, stained, fired, then glazed, stained and fired again to give the surfaces the look of disintegrating paint over weathered wood. This softening and reduction of form so that its essential nature is revealed is a metaphor I am using for life being lived, my exploration of the process of growing up and growing older. These latest small sculptures recall the “Santos” figures of Mexico and Central America and incorporate a reproduced 19th century doll head. Although my figures echo contemporary concerns, the borrowing of earlier styles gives them more of an ageless quality. Linda Gastrom, Professor of Art, states, “The subject conveys a sweet sentimentality twisted into melancholy that touches my emotional core and helps me remember the complexities of childhood and life”.