Portrait by: Gene Sasse 2013
Mother Nature | Ceramics

Stories from the Art: Gina Lawson-Egan


“I work with the human head and female figure as subject matter because it best communicates the themes that I am interested in.  Love and companionship, growth and death, balance and the passage of time are recurring themes in my work.  Like a perfect cup of coffee or tea, I mix these ideas together and add just a bit of humor to taste.”


Gina Lawson-Egan wears many hats and her life is full of the wonder and joy that each role presents to her. She works in clay and her figures often hearken back to ancient American art. As she works with the earthy elements of a history long ago, her full figures remind us to sit and drink in the quiet we find in the still moments of our lives.

Gina sculpts, and the power and complex duality of women emerge. Her more serious pieces show women at rest, at times with a bird in their hand or on their head, reminding us that a bird rests for only for a moment and that we too can catch this elusive part of our present and find serenity. She captures these fleeting seconds in pieces that look as though they were created long ago, their age beautifully deceptive. Along with a serious side, Gina unleashes a playfulness that shows itself in whimsy and fanciful additions to many of her pieces. Animals with human hands and feet, lively and personable, wearing clothes and expressions all too human can be found in much of her work.

Some of her women wear their lives in their hair. Relationships represented by animals or small human figures, tiny houses, all entangled and entwined. These miniature creatures and creations remind the viewer of the complications, joys and sorrows we share in community with others.

With a nod to the dramatic acts of nature: cyclone, hurricane, tsunami, Gina’s figures can balance a placid countenance on one side, and flying hair filled with the elements of life behind. The back of her large human heads show the interior life of the sculpture – or the person it represents - and encompasses universal themes. She is drawn to the natural things in our world that are out of our control, many of which involve water. Her pieces with fish allude to the mystery and power of the ocean and sea, “I like to play with these ideas when I am working with the sculptures and drawings” she says.

Her palette holds soothing earth tones, and her organic creations spark a connection to ancient art, totems and images meant to convey a deeper meaning or, as in some American Indian cultures, teach a lesson or tell a story. They often have a bit of playfulness tucked in, a small surprise to please the observer.

Her figures are mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and her creations juggle the problems and pleasures that we have in common with those around us. Shapes and movement, stillness and serenity, seriousness and whimsy, Gina’s creative force has many moods, all of them intriguing and all of them delightful.

Easy Rider | Ceramics
Final Journey | Ceramics

Stories from the Art - Slide Show

Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
© 2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist