Gibberish: Sapient Fool’s Gold (part 2) 2015
Circumventing overburdened themes such as environmentalism, in favor of a non-linear, fantastical position, I hope to call attention to less evident aspects of the relationships between people and the natural world, including intellectual, psychological, and numinous facets of this symbiosis.
For most of my artistic career my work has been based on the conceptual ramifications of material. Although I have utilized numerous materials, my concepts stem from my traditional ceramic training. I have consistently drawn upon Ceramic’s post-industrial and consumer meaning, and have referenced the object’s material value and historical significance pertaining to terracotta and porcelain. Humor, sarcasm, and outright distain for popular and contemporary culture have also been expressed through use of materials.
For many years my studio work relied on my conviction that art can and must be explained and articulated through words, both written and spoken, and that definitions and explanations could be clearly stated for everything meaningful. After becoming a parent, I realized that some things can only be understood visually, or experienced physically. Wanting to tap into this transformational personal realization, I have begun a transitional series of installations titled “The Gibberish Series,” in which I am trying to exemplify this idea of material voice, particularly clay. Though a toddler’s speech may be described as “gibberish” when initially learning to utilize spoken language, oftentimes the expression is both authentic and effective, if unconventional. At times, the hazy process of uncovering and deciphering information can be more enlightening of the human condition than clearly articulated data.
As a result of this transformation in thinking, I have begun investigating real and imagined qualities of materials, particularly clay, allowing material to speak for itself as opposed to employing materials to serve as clues for narrative. In a manner quite distinct from my previous approach to studio work, this has lead me to investigate a body of work that, though grounded in a very materialized reality, has become a rather non-linear experiment in the fantastic. I am using clay in a way that epitomizes its’ geological traits and origins, while simultaneously inverting physical laws and visual expectations of our world. Riverbeds soar in the clouds while the tree of life showers fool’s-gold geological formations, bloodlines permeate all, sewn into rain and piecing together the animal coats of many colors. Salt binds the surface of the faux, faux rocks and inverts the form to contain an essence of life. While it was my past inclination to pre-plan and analyze every facet of my work, I have begun to suspect that some expressions can only be approached cautiously, in a circuitous manner. It is this chimerical quality that I am trying to harness and express in my current work.
Images courtesy of Grin Gallery