Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today Jim Melchert visited my studio and we spent three hours discussing art in general and my work.  He suggested I spend some time with a piece to absorb its energy, and draw it.  We talked about how I have the propensity to go over the top with the amount of information packed into a piece.  When I spoke about my interest in having the space of the art extend into the wall or through the floor, he suggested I explore ways to make that more visible.  (Make a model with tennis ball...) He also recommended I try working big with other materials, although I really don't have the desire to have large forms.  I hope to be playing with the work in a new space soon.

Jim mentioned that you won't find a straight line in my work.  That is an astute point to ponder.  Am aI afraid straight is static?  In general, I consciously play off curves and swaying motion of the form to infer dance, flow, and music.  I like that he noted a feeling of rubber, elasticity, bouncing back, and resilience.  Jim saw Morandi, not so much Ohr or Chamberlain in the new work and thought perhaps I was being flippant or a feeling of oppression? It is true that Chamberlain's work infers the power and inherent danger in flattening those car bodies and scale is important to their presence.  Jim isn't recommending that I continue with the squashed pots although I feel like I haven't taken them far enough.  What I learned in the process was that the forms read better without glaze.  Glazing them has presented several problems.  Because of all of the trapped areas, it would be better to dunk them as one would a single pot.  Brushing on the glaze lead to uneven areas.  The glaze choices were not great either, especially the brown on the broken pots. The blue under glaze helped, but still yuk. They look best from the top, not from the side.  I may throw a few more with red clay and some with white, all unglazed.

Thursday, I drove to Cal State Stanislaus to see an excellent exhibit by last semester's mentor, Robert Ortbal.  It was great to hear him discuss his process and ideas behind the work. It was either hung or placed on the floor.  No pedestals, no labels, very clean.  It made me engage with the light, shadows, and materials, all perfectly synched. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2nd semester: new beginnings

On the way down to SF to see Annabeth Rosen's ceramic sculpture exhibition at Paule Anglim Gallery and the Stephen De Stabler totemic figure show at the De Young Museum, I passed a semi truck loaded with compressed car bodies, a sight that has always seemed hauntingly beautiful and frightening.  Naturally it made me think of John Chamberlain's work but also my own run over cups and George Ohr.  Upon return,  I embarked upon a new series of squashed and compressed vessels.  They are like the writhing bodies in Dante's inferno.  It has been years since I've thrown so it is a struggle!  I don't feel compelled to make them ideal forms which helps.  Bodies are not perfect and come in all shapes and sizes.  The first three pieces are in the kiln for bisque.  The glazing will probably be monochromatic.  I expect to try some with underglaze color before squashing them.  The third piece was beyond leather hard so the vessels cracked as well as slumped when compressed.

I also have a floor based mound in the works.  I drove out to my piano tuner's shop and picked up some old piano strings to extend ceramic pieces off of the mound.  I am hoping they will add sway and movement.

My first meeting with mentor Jim Melchert is scheduled for next weekend.  He has graciously offered to come to my studio to get an overview of work produced for the program and discuss goals for the semester.

squash pots 1a.

squash pots 1b.

squash pots 2a.

squash pots 2b.

squash pots 3a.

squash pots 3b.

squash pots 3c.
squash pots 3d.