Project Description

Beth Lo

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Beth Lo was born on October 11, 1949 in Lafayette, Indiana, to parents who had recently emigrated from China. Much of Beth’s ceramic and mixed media artwork draws from themes of childhood, family, Asian culture and language. She received a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Michigan in 1971, and then studied Ceramics with Rudy Autio at the University of Montana receiving her MFA in 1974. She assumed his job as Professor of Ceramics there when he retired in 1985, and has been twice honored with the University of Montana Provost’s Distinguished Lecturer Award, 2006 and 2010.

Lo’s work in ceramics and mixed media collage revolves primarily around issues of family and her Asian-American background. “Cultural marginality and blending, tradition vs. Westernization, language and translation are key elements in my work. Since the birth of my son in 1987, I have been drawing inspiration from major events in my family’s history, the day-to- day challenges of parenting, and my own childhood memories of being raised in a minority culture in the United States. I use the image of a child as a symbol of innocence, potential and vulnerability.

As I have grown older I think more and more about legacy and inheritance.  In the piece “Brothers and Sisters”, I have replicated traditional Chinese vase forms, on which I have painted imagery representing the values and valuables that I would want to pass on to the next generation.  I borrow visual vocabulary from Asian funerary papers, which depict items of physical and spiritual wealth, and are meant to be burned when a loved one dies, sending that wealth to the next life.  I also reference Chinese export porcelains, which were often painted, somewhat redundantly, with elaborate vase forms in order to show off the wealth of the owner.

The Chinese like to make the vases in pairs, to give a formal symmetry to an indoor or outdoor space. I like the imprint of my fingers that is visible in coil building, so the vases are made using a cardboard silhouette template, so they can be very close to identical in form.  The imagery is arranged loosely on the forms, giving the feeling of patterning without actual repetition.

Other influences in my work include calligraphy, advertising styles, cartooning, humor, kitsch, Chinese landscape painting.  The Chinese characters on the vases are:  Older Brother, Older Sister, Younger Brother, Younger Sister.”

Beth Lo has exhibited her work internationally. She was invited to make a new work for the Main Exhibition of the 7th Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in Korea, 2013. She has received numerous honors including the $50,000 United States Artists Hoi Fellowship in 2009, a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant in 1994, a Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 1989 and an American Craft Museum Design Award in 1986. Her figurative sculpture and pottery has been acquired by the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA, Microsoft Corporation, Cheney Cowles Museum of Art, the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA, the Permanent Collection, Yellowstone Art Center, Billings, MT, and the Hallmark Card Corporation Ceramics Collection.

Beth and her sister, author Ginnie Lo, have collaborated on two children’s picture books, Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic (2012) and Mahjong All Day Long which won the 2005 Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award. She has also collaborated with her mother, Chinese brush painter, Kiahsuang Shen Lo. Beth is also active as a bass player and vocalist for several musical ensembles including The Big Sky Mudflaps and Salsa Loca. The Big Sky Mudflaps is a swing and jazz ensemble that has played on the NBC Today Show and the Kool Jazz Festival among other national venues.

Beth Lo Artwork

Beth Lo CV


1974 MFA, Ceramics University of Montana
1971 BGS, General Studies University of Michigan


Professor of Art, School of Art, University of Montana


2018 Montana Potter Laureate
2010 UM Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Award
2009 United States Artists $50,000 Hoi Fellowship
2008 UM School of Fine Arts Alumni Award, Odyssey of the Stars
2006 Montana Book Award Honor Book
2006 Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award for Mahjong All Day Long
2006 UM Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Award
2003 Demonstrator, NCECA Conference
2002 UM School of Fine Arts Distinguished Faculty Award
1996 UM School of Fine Arts Distinguished Faculty Award
1995 Presenter, NGO Conference on Women, Beijing, China
1994 National Endowment for the Arts $20,000 Visual Artists Fellowship Grant
1993 Presenter, NCECA Conference
1991 Demonstrator, NCECA Conference
1989 Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship
1986 American Craft Museum Design Award


2018 Schaller Gallery
2018 Akar Gallery
2019 Radius Gallery, Missoula MT
2019 Lacoste/Keane Gallery, Concord, MA
2017 Sherry Leedy Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2016 Turman Larison Gallery, Helena, MT
2016 Tori Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
2015 Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI
2012 Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO
2009 Carleton College, Minnesota
2008 Lane County Community College, Eugene, OR
2005 Missoula Museum of the Arts, Missoula, MT
2005 Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA
2004 Santa Fe Clay Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM
2002 Lorinda Knight Gallery, Spokane, WA
2001 Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA
2000 Lorinda Knight Gallery, Spokane, WA
2000 Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA
1996 Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1996 J. Maddux Parker Gallery, Sacramento, CA
1993 Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1993 J. Maddux Parker Gallery, Sacramento, CA
1990 Yellowstone Art Center, Billings, MT


2019 Women Working in Clay Symposium Exhibition, Eleanor Wilson Museum, Roanoke, VA
2018 “The Incongruous Body”,American Museum of Contemporary Art, Pomona CA
2018 Lacoste/Keane Gallery, Concord, MA
2018 Red Lodge Clay Art Center, Red Lodge, MT
2017 Natsoulas Gallery California Clay Art Convention
2016 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics, NCECA Kansas City
2015 American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis
2014 American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, closing lecture
2013 7th International Gyeonggi Ceramics Biennale, Korea
2012 “The New Blue and White”, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MA
2012 “Contemporary Ceramics”, Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV
2008 “Voices,” NCECA Invitational Exhibition, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA, (catalog)
2007 “Contemporary Ceramics” at the Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH
2007 “Form and Imagination: Women Ceramic Sculptors”, American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), Pomona, CA
2006 “Life Insight”, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY
2006 Clay Menagerie”, Garth Clark Gallery, NYC, NY
2005 NCECA Exhibition, Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2004 “Portraits,” Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
2003 “Subject. Me. Object” Ferrin Gallery, Lenox, MA
2003 “Crossroads: New Art from the Northwest” Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA


2016  Beth Lo,  Natsoulas Press
2014 Breath, Beth Lo in Korea”, by Brandon Reintjes, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Issue 97
2012  Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic, by Ginnie Lo (children’s book illustrations), Lee and Low, NYC
2005 Mahjong All Day Long, by Ginnie Lo (children’s book illustrations), Walker Books, NYC
2000 American Craft Magazine, cover story by Rick Newby
1996 Artweek, review by Ron Glowen
1995 Ceramics Monthly (May issue)
1995 “Artists at Work: 25 Northwest Glassmakers,” Ceramicists and Jewelers, by Susan Biskeborn
1987 “American Ceramics,” New York Times Magazine


Schein –Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred NY
Tweed Art Museum, Duluth MN
Ceramic Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Hallmark Art Collection
The Dinnerware Museum, Ann Arbor, MI
Microsoft Corporation, WA
University of Washington Harborview Medical Center
Carleton College, MN
Missoula Art Museum, MT
Yellowstone Art Center, Billings, MT

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