This Gallery exhibits an archive of older work to help put my recent work into context. As you can see, I work in a series, taking a concept and making variations on the theme.
My intention in this work is to capture the arcane obscure qualities of everyday mundane objects. This interest in the still life was fired up in 1990 while in Bologna, Italy, where I saw the Georgio Morandi Retrospective Exhibition. I was amazed how Morandi could repeatedly paint such simple everyday objects and brilliantly capture their mystical qualities.
In 1991, I spent my sabbatical as an artist in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT. where I worked beside potters who were making functional ware meant to be used and enjoyed daily. This led to my research on modern and contemporary artists depicting the everyday object, such as Cézanne, Picasso and Elizabeth Murray. I was interested in the play of the actual object, which is three-dimensional, as opposed to the visual imagery, which is merely two-dimensional. I utilize this imagery to challenge the viewer’s perception of space and three-dimensionality.
One format my work takes is that of the tondo, or round relief, often found in Italian Renaissance architecture. This presents an almost flat surface on which to develop the still life imagery. Another format I use is that of the box. The notion of container is very important for the still life objects that are precariously balanced on the top of the box. Boxes bring to mind the preciousness of that which is within.
Most of the work in these series are made of earthenware clay, which has a high iron content that gives it a reddish color. I use a unique slab handbuilding technique that utilizes tarpaper, or roofing felt, for support. The surface is low fire underglazes and glazes as well as terra sigillata, a refined slip, with stains added for color. I incorporate the slip techniques of mishima, an inlaid slip, and scrafitto, slip scratched through to the clay surface. The pieces are fired in an electric kiln to about cone 04, 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.