ABRIDGED

My work explores the tension we experience when our tactile needs are restricted by the sphere of propriety. Guarded by social conditioning, the art object becomes too sacred, too precious, and too risky to become involved with – thereby making the viewer afraid to touch it. Yet all the while, a tension is building as the awe-filled viewer wants to touch the work. With expectations growing, the curious, anxious viewer awaits a moment of contact. For the sphere of propriety to be broken, the object has to be seductive enough for the viewer to become increasingly tempted to break the rules. If the work promises sensation, then desire will drive the licentious viewer to indulge in the primal need of the tactile. My work crosses these boundaries by tempting the viewer with promises of sensation and extending its reach beyond the pedestal. My conversations with clay are extended to any viewer who is impelled to move around, discover the form, and become intimate with the object. Does it remind you of something tender you’ve once experienced? I bet you can’t fit your entire hand in there.

EXTENDED

My work explores our human need for tactile sensation and the sphere of propriety. Guarded by social conditioning, the object on the pedestal becomes untouchable by the viewer. However, we all have the need to experience the tactile and to feel the world respond to us. Our sensitive touch receptors register and decipher every change in surface dimension, texture, temperature, moisture level, etc. Fueled by this tactile need and our inherent curiosity, we explore with our fingertips and learn new information about our three-dimensional realm. We are inclined to investigate our peculiar, object-filled surroundings as we continue on an unending quest for answers and understanding about the tangible.

On our paths of discovery we find each other; our bodies as mysterious as the universe. We approach the skin’s terrain just as we approach the world – with desire to experience. However, we remain limited by the sphere of propriety and the societal restraint that keeps us from indulging our carnal appetites. Instead, we scrutinize the landscape of our own bodies – following every hill, every line, every area of neglect; comparing the prickly to the soft, and the beautiful to the grotesque. All the while, we inventory our growing catalog of physical sensation.

We experience these same restrictions when approaching the art object. In the gallery space, a key support of the sphere of propriety is the pedestal. The pedestal signals a specific, sacred territory keeping the viewer distant. The object confined on the pedestal thus becomes too sacred, too precious, and too risky to become involved with – thereby making the viewer afraid to touch it. Yet all the while, a tension is building. The awe-filled viewer wants to touch the work, but settles only for a thorough visual examination of the object after accepting that it is forbidden. With expectations building, the curious, anxious viewer awaits a moment of contact. For the sphere of propriety to be broken the object has to be seductive enough for the viewer to become increasingly tempted. If the work promises sensation, then desire will drive the licentious viewer to pass the boundaries of propriety, and indulge in the primal sensation of the tactile. My work crosses these boundaries by tempting the viewer with promises of sensation and extending its reach beyond the confines of the pedestal.

As I build, I consider the relationships being formed: Does a wall reveal or conceal information? What is the difference between an orifice and an opening? Such questions ignite conversations resulting in voluptuous, curious forms. The glazes behave sculpturally, emulating an action or growth, such as oozing or foaming, or act as a skin-like coating. Its textural base stems from our ability to decipher properties of sensation, i.e. wet, heavy, gaseous, etc. This tactile catalog is enhanced with the inclusion of various other materials whose effects cannot be reproduced through the glaze medium.

The ceramic forms stem from my response to the ceramic material, to its tactility, and to aesthetic relationships. Through playing with clay’s natural limitations, a conversation is formed between my influencing the clay and the material’s response to my manipulations. From this initial playfulness, a true exchange of dialectical actions and reactions become possible. Allowing intuition to create an object is absorbing; as I build, cell by cell, I become immersed. I consider interesting aspects of previous pieces when building something new. In recalling a cave space – I liked putting my hand in there. I want to feel that again – the smooth, rolling quality of it. This visceral experience is enhanced by clay’s ability to immediately record every interaction with it.

My conversations with clay is extended to any viewer who is impelled to move around, discover the form, and become intimate with the object. Does it remind you of something tender you’ve once experienced? I bet you can’t fit your entire hand in there.