Thursday, 4 August 2016

Standing at Water's Edge - catalogue essay

Standing at water’s edge…
Does it evoke the image of waves gently caressing the shore, sun glittering on the surface, and rhythmical sounds of the ocean breathing in and out?
Or dark and deep angry waters powerfully crashing onto the shore with relentless energy and thunderous sounds, goaded by the wind?
Do you ever think of it as the border of the realm we belong to and the one we can only visit for a short time. Fascinating, Intriguing, Inviting?
I am drawn to the big bodies of water, as many of us are. I like standing at the water’s edge, listening to the rhythmical breathing of the waves. I can spend hours pondering and meditating, acutely aware of the vastness of the ocean and another world hiding under the surface. World within world. Divided or connected by the membrane separating water from air. Sometimes, the connection I feel is so deep that I am acutely aware of the origin of life. My cells used to belong to the ocean. I can feel the tides in my body. I belong.
It is an immersive, intense and short lived experience.
I try to capture and communicate that experience through the objects I make. I don’t have words for those thoughts, so I am exploring them through making the objects that speak of them, that allow me to glimpse the holistic nature of our universe and our being in it.
I look at many natural forms and learn from them.
Planktons, pollens, microscopic images of insects and butterfly eggs.....
There is such diversity, rhythm and playfulness of form in those tiny objects, but what intrigues me the most is the abundance of the little individual variations, complexity of the form and their beauty.
To me, those forms symbolize life. Life as significant as mine. Fragile and strong. Unique and universal.
Nature, of course, never makes straight lines or perfectly symmetrical curves. It grows forms in the seemingly spontaneous and playful, yet ordered and rhythmic way. I try to observe closely and grasp the essence of each form in order to create the visual symbols, language without words that will talk about life. Not human life. Universal life.
Using clay to express my ideas is a two way process. The choice of the material and techniques defines the forms I can make, and is defined by my ability to manipulate and understand the material I use. I love the feel, the smell, and the idea of using a natural, earthy, ancient material to explore and express thoughts. It is extremely pliable and responsive to the slightest touch, and at the same time often incapable of holding its own weight and very fragile when dry.
I use all the traditional forming techniques in making my work: handbuilding, press moulding, wheel throwing and slip casting; and many innovative, atypical ones. I like to think of my practice as a creative one, a synthesis that does not fit neatly into the preconceived boxes of art, craft and design, but moves freely across the fields.

“Everyone agrees that making art involves self-expression. However, I suggest that genuine creativity involves much more. It involves the artist immersing in the art form, which then invites the audience into that immersive space. Creativity reaches for connection.”*

*Dr. Anne Paris: Standing at Water's Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion, New World Library, June 1, 2008