Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spinning under control

Finally got around to making proper videos of these two sculptures, posted at the end of this entry..  Notice the blue "ears" on the first one.  Now look at the image at the top of the sidebar column to the right. ==>
Yep, same piece.  I realized a month or so after that image was taken that this piece was not finished - every time I looked at it, I thought, it's missing elements, protrusions, wings, ears, horns, whatever it might be, to balance it and animate it.  So I added two curved horns, attached (>>gasp<<) with epoxy.  These are just underglazed blue with a clear final high-fire glaze on top.

The post-firing/attach-by-epoxy step was sort of a milestone for me.  I have never considered doing something like that before, because of a combination of lack of confidence and a weird sort of amateur-puritanism about making ceramic sculpture, based on a self-imposed ethos which requires the piece to be finished _in_ the kiln, never _after_.   The lack of confidence part is about not trusting my un-mediated artistry - meaning, as long as the final rendering takes place in a process which I have no control over (firing), then the art is sufficiently detached from my own hand so as to accept that the piece stands on its own.  The result of those two feelings is that, even now, as the blue-horned piece sits next to the Spiral Step piece on my counter:
 I can't look at the two of them without a little voice in my head saying, this one is "pure", that one is "adapted" (or, less charitably put, "tainted").   There is this thing about creating sculpture which has to do with the idea that the form itself existed as an idea in whole form before I even picked up some raw clay to start rendering it.  Was it Aristotle or Michelangelo or DaVinci? - who said something like this - the form exists inside the marble; the sculptor simply reveals it.   The ceramic-making corollary, in my mind, is that the firing process itself, as it literally transforms a temporary rendering into a permanent form, must be the final step in moving the form from idea to reality.   Put another way, it is as if, by radically changing the piece after firing, I changed where the goal-post is just because I wasn't thrilled with the initial outcome.   All of this internal dialogue, I'm hoping, means I'm in the throes of transitioning into thinking of form itself as an artistic medium I feel comfortable in (i.e., sculpture in a broader sense), not just the craft of ceramic-making.    Hope I didn't lose you somewhere in that paragraph, but this internal dialogue is what this blog is about for me.


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