My personal art work has shifted quite a bit in the last 5 years. An art tour of Spain during my sabbatical in the spring of 2013 and a public art mosaic project (funded by Quad-City Arts, Metro Arts) beginning in the summer of 2014, forced change in my art work.
I have made ceramic vessels which refer to the human form for many years. The traditional vocabulary of ceramics uses figurative references, so lip refers to the top edge of a form and the words belly, neck and foot to other appropriate parts. I attempt to communicate through these pieces as a poem would, in the improvised juxtaposition of form, color, design, narrative, and references.
The pieces in this exhibit span the last few years. Many of the earliest pieces reference art work by Hieronymus Bosch. I rediscovered Bosch while on a trip to Spain during a sabbatical in the spring of 2013. I encountered The Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosch’s painting from the early 16th century. In it, there are other worldly architectural forms which seem to be plant-like. Scholars have written that they may be portals for souls attempting to travel to their afterlife. I was so amazed at these beautiful and imaginative forms that I began to try to translate small parts of them to clay. Largely though, their delicacy wasn’t well suited to clay. From here, looking for similar organic plant-like forms I remembered that I had been introduced to the plant photography of the German artist Karl Blossfeldt. This really became the more direct references for these pieces. Different from my past work, many of these pieces are made by starting with paper templates on slabs of clay. Wheel thrown parts are often added to develop the forms sculpturally.
As a college teacher I tend to work in spurts, and more concentrated ones in the summer. The most recent work was begun from biking along the Mississippi where I noticed the variety of support structures combined under bridges. I was interested in the combinations of various volumetric forms with open, filigree-like metal work on the top. I was also influenced by a mosaic project I’ve been working on for the past two summers, which involves tiling the concrete portions of a large geometric/totemic sculpture. While the newer work is more geometric in form, it relates to older pieces in the totem like forms and surface details. I use both stoneware and porcelain and finish the process with gas and wood fired kilns.
M.F.A., Ceramics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 1980.
Apprenticeship/Production Potter, Ridker Pottery, Bethesda, Maryland 1976‑78. B.S., Crafts, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland: 1976.