The Unseen Hand: Artist Statement
My work explores the beauty and horror of our existential uncertainties as creatures seeking meaning in a microcosm. These pots combine inspirations from historical production ceramics with contemporary studio art practices in wheel thrown and soda fired cone 11 porcelain.
The work addresses design elements from 18th and 19th century European slipcast ware, but is created with the immediacy and individuality attributed to hand processes and alternative firing methods. In this dialogue between the tangible past and immediate present, the work appears both conspicuously old fashioned and relevant to contemporary concerns in an unsteady American social landscape.
It is the strong connection I feel to the chaotic and imperfect nature of soda firing and handcraft that, to me, highlights the absurdity of the endeavor of the handmade: the seemingly futile and never-ending quest for perfection and objective meaning. I embrace the errors of the hand and artifacts of the intense heat from firing because, although the pots themselves may be inanimate know-nothings, they still have something to teach us about the natural and the arcane.
I place an emphasis on making ceremonial vessels that speak to the passage of time and embrace the propensity for ceramic vessels to be heirloom objects. The work seems to suggest that it bears witness to the ebb and flow of civilizations, of ideas, and of people. But as effigies of ourselves, fashioned by our own hands and concepts, these pots are ultimately just objects: like ashes that sit undisturbed in the urn, and the urn that sits on the mantle. As vessels that exist through time as humans cannot hope to, these pots whisper to us to confront the knowledge we share of our progression towards inevitable demise and our march into obscurity. It is both a liberating comfort, and a savage terror that the dead do not return, except in stories and dreams.