Diane Mayo: Collected Friends

Diane Mayo in her studio.

Considered a highly gifted artist and recognized as a ceramic sculptor, Diane Mayo was innovative and inventive with her chosen medium, exploring and mastering techniques and pushing the expressive boundaries of clay.

Born and raised in Syracuse, Diane completed undergraduate studies at Syracuse University and went on to obtain her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Massachusetts. She was a multifaceted artist who began as a painter and achieved recognition for her writing in the early 1980s, such as “Murder at Bean & Beluga” (1983), a witty mystery that included her illustrations.

Diane began her career as a painter but discovered that, “to be the kind of artist I wanted to be, I needed to give up control.” Firing ceramics afforded those chance revelations and Diane created distinctive sculptures that energetically explore the basic elements of art, especially color, form, and texture. They move between abstraction and representation, crossing from function to pure form, transmitting movement and stillness. Known for the expert ease with which she hand-built her sculptures from rolled slabs of clay, Diane’s skill with glazing techniques was notorious, a proficiency she achieved through years of testing and experimenting that prompted the playwright Edward Albee to conclude, “I see you have it down to a quasi-science.” 

Diane was a long-time resident of Montauk and a devoted member of her community, both artistic and at large. She left New York City for the East End in 1980 with her husband, the artist Rex Lau, to assist Albee with his property and residency program, and never went back. An avid gardener, she volunteered in the Montauk Community Garden. She taught ceramics at The Art Barge for many years, a gentle guide to numerous students who became devotees of her classes, her work, and her.

With this gathering of ceramics by Diane Mayo, we pay homage to the creative and generous life of an artist and friend whose work is as brilliant as she was. The “collected works” on exhibit are cherished by the many individuals who make up the “collected friends” that Diane, through her kind and graceful manner, acquired over the years.