Sylwia Tur

Sylwia Tur


Mapping, 2010


My work explores an array of linguistic concepts. I am interested in relationships between familiar shapes and objects presented in a slightly unfamiliar way. Because basic geometric shapes are often devoid of inherent identity, thus providing a clean slate, I can choose their identity by the way I bring them together in one object or a series of objects. I am attracted to balance, not necessarily order, but the right balance achieved spatially between shapes. Similarly to the way language works and the choices we make with our speech, I use the vocabulary of shapes to create my own language of objects. The set of vocabulary I draw from is basically the same every time; what differs is the way I choose its orientation and connection toward one another.

One of the most important components of my work is the awareness of the internal structure of things. Perhaps this interest stems from the other area of my life that continues to be significant to me: linguistic research, where the underlying or hidden structure of language is what can give us clues as to what we see on the surface. When working on my sculptures, I always think about their internal structure, what the structure is and what it could be, since I am the one who assigns it. Because the internal structure can only be known to me, thus hidden from the viewer, I transfer and represent my idea of internal structure to the outside of a piece, to the surface of the form. I do this in such a way that each piece has several viewing points, one of them being the optimal viewing point and the others providing additional details. It is these details, which cannot always be seen from the optimal viewing point that I think of as the internal structure of my work. They are not visible at a first glance, but once they become known, they provide the viewer with a form of x-ray vision or a memory trace that completes the piece. It is at this point that both internal and external structures are known, one informing the other.


Sylwia Tur was born and raised in Poland. She received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics from the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by Post-Baccalaureate studies in Studio Art (Ceramics) also at the UW. She continues to draw inspiration from both fields: art and linguistics. Her work has been included in several juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the country. She also had solo shows at the Ceramics Gallery of the University of Washington, at the Pottery Northwest Gallery in Seattle, and at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, WA. She is a recipient of the Artist Trust GAP Grant (Grants for Artist Projects), as well as the Regional Exhibition Award from the National Council of Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). She lives and works in Seattle.