Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Worcester Krikorian Gallery
I'd like to thank all the people who came out to see the show despite the snowy weather, Ben and Jen, Timothy Ballan, Joanna, Phil, Erica, Jared (who I met there but grew up right next to Watershed and now lives with my friend Erica), Zohar, Whitney, and Kelsy. All the residents of the Worcester Center for Craft (who are all very sweet, interesting, and talented people), the staff, some board members and family members also showed up.
The Worcester Show was very handsome. In fact, so awesome that the Watershed Website should read, "The Mission of Watershed is to provide Bad Asses and Rock Stars time and space to work." With just a day or two of set up and a day of light arranging, the show fell together beautifully. The Worcester space is a nice open one with wood floors and an ample supply of spot and flood lighting. We residents gave an artist talk prior to the scheduled opening to introduce ourselves and the the stories behind the work.
I was showing a collection of Cone 6 salt-fired porcelain Teapots and cups with forms referencing full bellies, hips and shoulders; figuratively decorated functional work; and an installation of sake dishes that took the most time of anything else of mine in the show. In short, it is 360 2inch sake dishes arranged in an 11.5' x 2.5' tapestry, sewn together, and hung from the ceiling and off of the wall.
To explain in depth, my work prior to Watershed was about self narrative, and stories that were reactionary to things going on outside myself. It was very emotional. When I arrived at Watershed, I just wanted to work. Falling back on what I was comfortable with, I tried making things like my past work, and that just didn't happen. The pots felt contrived, and thus dishonest, and thus ugly. I want to make neither dishonest nor ugly things. They felt hollow, with no substance to back them. Still filled with the desire to create, yet no emotional flood to draw from, I ended up working more abstract. I wanted to step away from the emo stuff anyway.
What started as a little project with designs on sake dishes ended up exploding into something of a whole other scale. It spread from the designs to a study in scrolls and clay as tapestry. I soon realized that really wasn't what the piece was about, but knew I had to finish making the piece first, and would analyze it later. Upon its completion, I found it was a self-portrait. There is a quote that architects reference, "When architects of old left their schools to begin building the things they designed, they planted ivy along the base of their building, in hopes that as they grew older and hopefully became more skilled artisans, the ivy would grow to cover up their old mistakes." The piece has become about the realization of old mistakes and personal flaws and covering them up. Taking the metaphor of the ivy another step, if it it's allowed to grow and cover the building unchecked, it weakens the structure and it falls apart. Thus, the idea of covering up the mistakes of the self is a self defeating one. One must first realize the act of covering up before one can uncover and fix the mistakes underneath.
After four months of working in rural Maine with five other people, you kind of get inside your own head. I have realized certain things about myself since being here that I am growing from. The piece served almost as a mandala in the sense of small things making a larger whole, the time element the the construction of the piece, and meditation on the self and the relationship of the self to the world surrounding. It also left the surprising and delightful shadows on the wall, the tinkling noise when tapped, and the appearance of a simple and meditative piece, regardless of what it has come to mean to me. As Lorna Meaden once said, "No surprise for the maker leaves no surprise for the viewer." This piece was filled with little surprises for me.
I am by no means suggesting I am a flawless person. I am not.
All in all there has not even been a moment to breathe between Worcester, the return home and the preparations for the Port Chester show. It was exciting to return home to empty shelves and wet clay. With other things coming up, I've a week to work wet, three days to fire, glaze, and then fire again, and then the pots are off to Port Chester.
Hoping to see many more of you at the Port Chester Opening March 1st... Peace.