University at Albany

Marja Vallila

A sculptor, printmaker, and experimental filmmaker, who exhibited internationally and taught for 25 years in the Art and Art History department at the University at Albany, died on December 23, 2018. Marja's mature body of ceramic work affirms a distinctly feminist take on what a domestic household vessel, as intimate sculptural expression, could be. As a teacher, Marja, introduced processes and projects that would steer students away from formulaic solutions, encouraging them to incorporate their wider knowledge and life experiences into their efforts. She would work alongside her students to de-mystify the creative process and encourage her students to think about problem solving as a kind of serious play. She had twenty-three solo shows, eight in foreign counties, both in Europe and in Asia, aside from numerous group exhibitions and international Biennials. Her works are in nineteen international public collections.