Since ceramics was not my first medium, I am constantly still struggling to make bigger, more precise work with a material that has a mind of its own. There are many different art styles that I am drawn to such as the 'minimalist functionalist' or artists that work with the figure or even installation as part of a performance or a set for photography.
1. Minimalist functionalist
Ionna Vautrin, Yuval Tal, Ami Drach
2. Back to the Bodies
Rabarama (Paola Epifan), Sueng Chan Lim, David Altmejd, Lucy Mc Rae
3. Ceramics as Installation
Clare Twomey, Ai Wei Wei, A M Martens, Carol Young
Being new to the art scene, it is easy to for all the sensory organs to feel overwhelmed. What to look at? What to make? What to do? What is this about? While I took my time in experimenting different mediums and forms, I am particularly attracted to artwork where the process itself is an art of its own. So the artist I chose to present is Tim Hawkinson.
Everything from his weirdness and funny accent makes me grow fonder of his pieces and admiring his art processes which can be comparable to engineering. From surrealistic Dali clocks to zentangle doodles to musical installations, Tim's work not only reflects an abstracted mind but also a technical creative process to create these amazing works.
As an art student, I find most of my projects to be little experiments to discover what I want my work to be about. At the beginning of the semester I was feeling a little down about this class as clay is not my friend, it has a mind of its own and it clearly doesn't like me. So I spent the past 2-3 weeks sucking up to it, but then I was told to make clay work for me rather than changing the way I work for clay.
I ended up with little interactive pieces of clay which I really enjoyed making and working with. For this next project I would like to furthur this progress and look into making more architectural design elements and mulitples of geometric shapes that are interactive peices by themselves and maybe in as an installation in the future. Some of the artists that I am looking at are Del Harrow, Brandon Reese, Andrew Molleur etc.
"Asking a sculptor to make ceramics was like asking a poet to write advertisements", claimed Melotti back in 1939. Long before being distinguishable, artists like Melotti and Fontana have struggled the Ceramic Sculpture, is it ceramic or sculpture?
Having to clarify this, Fontana went on to publish a text, in which he defined himself:
“I am a sculptor, not a ceramicist. I have never thrown a plate on a wheel nor painted a vase. I detest lacy designs and dainty nuances.“ Lucio Fontana.
Both these artists were first drawn to clay because of its economical means and accessibility after the war. A part of me begins to wonder if they were to live today what new materials would they be creating their ideas with, considering neither of them were pleased about being too associated with being a ceramist. Would Fontana's Nature series be constructed of polyurethane? How would technology and the discovery of new materials impact their enthusiasm for installations in their later works? In the article it explains that the choice to work with clay gave them an opportunity to reach wider audiences, Fontana and Melotti's work would not just be in the gallery but also at trade fairs and used in homes.
Being unfamiliar with most of Fontana and Melotti's work, I visited some other sites and attached the pictures above. One can see the changes stylistically and intuitively from their works over the decades. Despite creating works that are used at home and sold in trade fairs, Melotti and Fontana's ceramics always remained in the realms of fine art. Fontana insisted that they were so because they were 'monotypes' as they were often unique objects that are directly and carefully modelled by the artist. This brings up the issue of form and function to me and I read it to be a question of can fine, high art pieces be functional and duplicated to multiples or does an object loses it high/fine art quality when they are also function? In high art, can form still follow function?
I am most moved by the notion of creating artwork at dire times after world wars. Coming from a developing third world country, the liberal arts are often put down and seconded to science and technology. But to imagine establishing oneself as an artist back then in Italy after the war would be similarly challenging.