Kimberly Callas is a sculptor and Social Practice artist working in both Maine and New Jersey. Callas received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art and her BFA from Stamps School of Art at the University of Michigan. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums and has received national and international grants and awards. She is currently the Artist-in-Residence for the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University where where she is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts.
Recent grants include a Pollination Project Grant, an Urban Coast Institute Grant, and a Monmouth University Summer Faculty Fellowship. Recent exhibits include the International Exhibit on New Media Art, at the CICA Museum in South Korea, Summer Exhibition at Flowers Gallery in New York City, 9×12 at Dual Galleria in Budapest, Hungary and Crossing Boundaries: Art and the Future of Energy at The Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL.
Callas uses both handmade and emerging technologies to combine the human body with patterns and symbols from nature focusing on the idea of an ecological self. Art New England called work from her series Portrait of the Ecological Self, “Unforgettable.” Callas often creates within community and her Social Practice community project “Discovering the Ecological Self” was recently featured in the Huffington Post. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Monmouth University.
Callas grew up in northern Michigan and moved to New York City for graduate school. After witnessing the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Callas and her husband, George Callas, moved with their family to MidCoast Maine and built and in-ground, stone house and then co-founded a sustainability institute. In 2016, Callas became an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Monmouth University.
My artwork stems from a meditation on how natural processes, images and patterns become the symbolic language of life. My work looks at how we create meaning from nature as a way to bring us back into relationship with nature.
I use traditional clay modeling techniques joined with natural materials and emerging technologies to create life-size figures that combine the human body with symbols and patterns from nature, seeking an ‘ecological-self’. I sculpt life-size figures in water-based clay and then cast them into an architectural concrete or bronze or 3D print them. Ground pigments mixed with beeswax or shellac, and natural materials such as wasp paper, bark, roots, and seeds are often used to finish the work. My forms fluctuate between likeness and abstraction to emphasize the tension between the personal and the universal – our desire to hold onto our uniqueness with our need to understand ourselves as a vast, interconnected body.
I work collaboratively with individuals and organizations from a variety of fields, particularly poetry, biology and ecology.
To bring the ecological-self work to others, I have created a Social Practice project: Discovering the Ecological Self. Discovering the Ecological Self is a multi-institutional art project designed to foster environmental stewardship and create environmental leaders and Social Practice artists. The project uses workshops and activities to research and create art from personally and culturally significant nature-based symbols, patterns, and images.
To join in the project and seek out your own ecological self, start with this introductory survey: https://kimberlycallas.com/survey/ The survey results help us identify threads and patterns in our relationships to nature and inspires new imagery for the project. Contact information is optional.