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Up or Down
Since my move to South Florida I have been fascinated with the state of being that exists between the aim of perfection, the state of decay, and the ever encroaching fauna. Up or Down is a series of sculpture that resulted from an earlier body of work, Shapes. Shapes was Interested in what William Letharby (2005) calls the,“urban utopia,” which terms the creation of the objects structured within coordinated, aestheticized environments. The sculptures of Shapes aimed utilize form and surface to reference this utopia through overly fetishized objects.
Up or Down departs from Shapes by taking greater consideration of form. Up or Down is not an attempt to recreate natural objects, but instead is interested in the behavior of nature, the repetitive, emergence that occurs. In this the work builds upon itself, where my thumb prints become both texture and a record of the individual acting upon the material's malleability and spontaneity, where the work becomes a recording device of the processes surrounding it, capturing what Jospeh Needham (1985) designates as, "organic pattern". The work forms through repetitive motion and start with a reference to traditional ceramic vessels, yet the clay dictates, through its own nature and chance, the sculpture's final form.
This acceptance of chance is not new to the creation of ceramic objects or art practice in general. Chance has long been utilized within Western modes of art practice. Aspects of Surrealism, Dada, and Action Painting are understood to have cultivated chance as a comment and reaction to overly aestheticized modes of creation (Lomas 2012). Within the ceramic field similar lines of production are followed, where the materials, forms, and firings are lent a considerable amount of freedom within the dialogue of the work.
After the forms are created I use layers of resin to subtly blur the surface texture, and then apply several coats of auto paint as a reference to ideas of perfection. This is the crux of the work then, a contrast between natural formation and the attempt to smooth things over. The title Up or Down is a reference to the duality that exists between beauty and control.
hand-built, resin, auto paint
24 x 9 x 8"
22 x 12 x 11"
24 x 11 x 8"
20 x 11 x 9"
21 x 12 x 11"
23 x 10 x 9"
19 x 10 x 10"
18 x 14 x 12"
24 x 7"
Letharby. Architecture, Mysticism and Myth. Cosimo Classics, Dec. 1, 2005.
Needham. Science and Civilisation in China. Cambridge University Press, Jul 11, 1985. pg.
Lomas. Becoming Machine: Surrealist Automatism and Some Contemporary Instances. Tate Papers no.18 Autumn 2012.
link to paper here
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