This week has brought forth new found excitement in the studio, in that I think I have had a break through in my art. Basically, I have made something that I have no clue what to do with! Which I feel is a semi success.
The image on the left is my piece after bisque firing in the kiln, and has black glaze sprayed on it (which appears red before firing on it). The image on the right is after glaze firing, and the amount of slumping, or size change and shrinkage is significant.
As of lately I have been experimenting with ceramics again in my studio, which I have not incorporated into my art work since about 2012, back when I was extremely interesting in slip casting and mold making. This time around I have continued working with slip, but instead of casting objects via plaster molds, I am using a "paper clay" type of slip I created to dunk fabrics and various found plastics and cardboard into it to create forms. After discussing my new experiments with my professors, I was instructed to look up artists like Christo and Haim Steinbach. Christo's early works were all about creating new sculptures by wrapping everyday objects in cloth and string. Steinbach questions the context of found objects by placing them on shelves, thus examining the aesthetic, cultural and ritualistic aspects at hand. Both artists put an emphasis on the object, by either hiding or leaving it in plain sight.
Which is what brings the question to mind "what if the object isn't there at all?" Through a tedious google search and an eventual trip across the interwebs to Pinterest, I came upon the ceramic artist Cheryl Ann Thomas to help me answer this question. She creates inquiry based sculptures from porcelain coils stacked one on top of each other into tall thin columns and then allows the firing process in the kiln to do the rest. Her work December was just deinstalled on January 3rd from a year long exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston called Nature, Sculpture, Abstraction and Clay: 100 Years of American Ceramics. I came across her work while searching for "draped object ceramics" in Pinterest and thought that her final product was similar to my own ceramic experiments recently in the studio. I am excited to try my hand at porcelain after my first class critique coming up in the 2nd of February. I have a new translucent slip formula to try out and am curious just how similar my kiln results will be to Cheryl Ann Thomas's. I have already experienced the "slumping" of a ceramic piece in the kiln, but nothing on the scale of Thomas's nearly collapsed pieces. They literally fall to pieces in the firing process!!! Hopefully the next few works will bring more unsettling feelings that I will have to decode in the studio. Here's to experimentation!