Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Leza Marie McVey (née Sullivan) (1907–1984) was an innovative American ceramist and weaver.
McVey studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art (1927–1932) and at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center (1943–1944). In 1932, she married the sculptor William Mozart McVey, and from 1935 to 1947, she worked as a ceramist in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. William accepted a teaching position at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1947, and there she met the Finnish artist Maija Grotell and became friends with the Japanese-American artist Toshiko Takaezu who studied at the Cranbrook Academy from 1951 to 1954. In 1953, McVey returned to her native city of Cleveland and established her studio "Pepper Pike".
McVey's large-scaled, biomorphic, asymmetrical work is said to reflect her dissatisfaction with wheel-thrown pieces and to have led the way for modern ceramic art in the United States. Influenced by surrealism, her sculptural stoneware and porcelain works embody the natural, organic form. In the 1960s, McVey's work slowed due to her failing eyesight.
Collections containing work
McVey's work may be found in several private, corporate, and public collections:
- Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Michigan
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Eidelberg, Martin P., The Ceramic Forms of Leza McVey. Hudson, New York: Philmark Publishers, 2002.
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