ceramic sculpture, 2004-2006
The natural serenity and layered decay of the neighborhoods of New Orleans and the swamps of Louisiana infiltrate this work. View it and consider the abiogenesis ( origin of life) theory regarding how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. I liken the processes in ceramic work to the phases of the physical & spiritual life cycle; seemingly invisible cells and particles join to form organisms, which are in turn molded and changed by the environment.
To produce these pieces I utilized my knowledge of ceramic chemistry- mixing everything from the clay bodies, to the slips, to the glazes and encaustic finishes from scratch (mostly using the clay and chemical powders in Nicholls State University’s well-appointed ceramic studio). I also experimented with mixing natural materials into the clay, as well as glass and other found objects during the firing processes.
I created (slightly demented-looking) human figures in clay to explore personal/spiritual and scientific/religious notions. I was struggling with general confusion about becoming an adult (I was 21, afterall). This struggle had driven me into a strange depression that I dealt with mostly through artistic production. Losing myself in these ‘people’, these physical manifestations of my problems, eventually helped move me through my issues.
This work also makes me think of the “clay-life theory,” first proposed in the 1960’s by chemist Graham Cairns-Smith, which challenges the long-favored notion that life emerged from the primordial oceans after millions of years of chemical reactions between simple organic molecules. This particular theory is reminiscent of the biblical account of creation which says, “the Lord God formed man of dust of the ground,” and refers to it commonly as clay.