Holly Hanessian

Holly Hanessian,Tallahassee, FL, USA
Holly Hanessian, Tallahassee, FL, USA

Holly Hanessian is an educator, scholar and studio artist creating artworks that inhabit the overlapping worlds of craft, design and contemporary art through creating socially engaged and installation artwork. She has taught, lectured and exhibited projects internationally and in the United States investigating contemporary ideas on our haptic senses and the use of digital applications in the field of contemporary ceramics. Recent projects include an essay in the 2017 “The Ceramic Reader.” She is currently is one of 50 artists represented in Cont[ract] Earth, the 1st Central China Biennale organized by South African, curator, Wendy Gers.

Professionally, Hanessian is a Professor of Art at Florida State University where she is the area head of ceramics and President of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), a member of Socially Engaged Craft Collective, ArtAxis, and AccessCeramics.


Artist Statement
“Touch, thought to be the most primitive of the senses is regarded as the guarantor of optical intuition, the promise of immediate experience and support of conscious thought.”
Derrida, Jacques. On Touching – Jean-Luc Nancy.

Close your eyes, feel my vision. Our sensory world is both hardwired and formed by our daily interactions. Touch, our most extensive Meta human sense can have dire consequences when there is a lack of or an overload.

Sensory perceptions, specifically ideas based on touch have been the focus of my art practice and writings for the last five years. My ceramics projects have ranged as a social engaged craft activist / facilitator for other artists to work with under-appreciated populations to direct, one-on-one experiences.

My projects ask participants to interact and reconsider their expectations based on our physical sensations. My intention is not to subvert our desire to interact through touch, sight or smell with my artwork, but to hit the pause and reset button on what we assume and yield to in our instinctual nature.

We now default to using a GPS instead of trusting our visual and spatial perceptions or assume that a scented candle really does smells like a gardenia. By creating interactive, often face-to-face situations where the public touches, smells and interacts with each other in unexpected ways, my artwork will question our base sensory behaviors.