Shiyuan Xu, The Anniversary Show archive

November 6, 2020 – January 23, 2021

SHIYUAN XU: Slowed Growth
THE ANNIVERSARY SHOW: Celebrating 35 Years of Art with Friends

Click to see Shiyuan Xu sculpture.

“Slowed Growth takes place during the pandemic. Everything is slowed down during this time, from a country’s economy to individual’s daily activity. Yet, the natural world keeps going, slow and steady. Slowed Growth references the evolving motion of the living organisms, and it also references my making process, bit by bit, layer by layer, and one firing after another to complete a single object. It is time consuming but therapeutic.”
– Shiyuan Xu

Shiyuan Xu’s fantastic sculptures, hand-built with porcelain paperclay, are inspired by scientific research into microscopic phenomena. These phenomena range from single-celled organisms in the ocean to diverse plant seeds on land, to cells that are the building blocks of all life. She sees the structure of these micro life forms as having been determined by growth and response to internal and external forces, leaving a record of movement in time and space.

Shiyuan’s forms are built by hand and glazed in an unconventional way. The materials she uses allow her to push the boundaries of fragility and strength, simplicity and complexity, order and chaos. She meticulously weaves thin skeletal lines into a harmonious volume. Shiyuan says of this process, “The regular and irregular structures and layers also contain the memory of my sensations. They are in many ways like living organisms, reflections of my own life path, and an abstraction of the complexity and delicacy of life itself.”

Shiyuan Xu is currently an Artist in Residence at the Lilstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL. She holds an MFA from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ and a BA from the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, P.R. China. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT; Korea Ceramic Foundation, Incheon, South Korea; San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX and The National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Sherry Leedy began her career as gallery director 35 years ago with the idea of presenting contemporary artworks of exceptional quality and merit. In 1985, art was often categorized by material and divided into fine art or craft, but Leedy was convinced that it wasn’t the material but the maker that determined the worth of the artwork. She exhibited ceramic sculpture, painting, glass, printmaking, and photography together as equals in more than 100 exhibitions. This point of view, now more widely accepted, continues to guide the gallery’s philosophy. In addition, the gallery has a long history of supporting the art of women and Native Americans, both historically marginalized. The gallery has placed over 150 works of art in museum collections and gallery artists are represented in over 100 museums worldwide as well as numerous corporate and private collections.

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art anchors the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Missouri and has been instrumental in the success of the neighborhood. The establishment of First Fri- days, over 20 years ago, brought literally thousands of people, interested in art, face-to-face with a vibrant and active art scene. Today, as 2020 comes to a close, as the year that none of us will forget but many of us would love to, hopeful news is on the horizon.

Spring is just around the corner. Artists are still making art. People are still eager for the in-person art experience and that reaffirming human contact that is so vital to our spirit and well-being. As the gallery looks forward, we are optimistic about the future. After all, without creativity, where would we be?

These exhibitions were open November 6, 2020 – January 23, 2021.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11-5 p.m.
For past exhibitions, please visit our archive.