Unmatched Pairs is a show at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland, Oregon. It’s a Pacific Northwest Sculptors (PNWS) collaboration show. I’ve combined with two different artists and have some of my personal work in the show as well.
Clay is for play. Bending stretching, responding to subtle and whimsical touch. These sculptures are a window to understanding the nature of play itself. I believe the universe is at play. All matter is expressing harmonics that are always singing, ready to move and flow. As dance, drama, music, everything in existence is at play. There is a lightness and curious nature to nature itself.
The universe is also a deadly, challenging place. These sculptures could be seen as playmate/explorers discovering the highs and lows of the world. They are like guides into the cosmology of a Universe at Play. For them the stakes are not do-or-die, because they know the dead are also at play. The rules of the game are unwritten and intuitive, but values like fairness, inclusiveness, health, joy, and a heightened awareness apply universally. “Take joy and Be aware”, they say.
Being a good witness is part of the Play. The audience is a collaborator with the performance. A “Call and Response” dynamic brings an artwork to life. Any form can become a vessel for consciousness when our senses are engaged. These are the subtle strands of connection between meanings that imply the outlines of the Unknown. Here is the broad field of play that these artwork/explorers are opening up.
A skillful viewer practices suspended disbelief. Give the story time to unfold, watch things fall into place. This is especially important when the play seems random or out-of-control; that’s when we are collaborating with the Unknown. It’s best to think of the unknown as being at play also. You are looking into the darkness and it is looking back. Hold this relationship lightly, madly, joyfully and with awe.
It is reassuring to think we understand. People will often try to guess who my sculptures are portraits of. Making narrative for these figures can be part of the play, but letting go of narrative is even more playful. They are not specific people. While they are about humanity they are more like states of being both harmonic and dissonant. In tone and composition, these figures are more musical than storytelling. These sculptures don’t make sound like music, but they do hold silence. It sometimes the space between notes that gives room for us to feel. Space for new awe. Sculpture giving us room to be Closer to Being.
I have done a series of clay “hand-building” demos in public, where I answer questions about my work while I create clay figures. There is a temporary studio with table, tools and media that closely replicates everything that I do privately. I have been very pleased with the pieces that come out of these demos. They have my typical surreal and intuitive quality, but they are less distressed emotionally. This is probably because I like being a generous host to the random people that enter my space.Pictured here is a piece I made at the Fall Festival for the Arts 2016 in Troutdale, Oregon. It is an angelic, ceramic figure 25 inches tall. At the time of this photo it had no yet been fired, but it is currently in the glazing process. Look forward to seeing the finished piece.
I have performed sculpting at the OMSI Mini Maker Faire in Portland and Troutdale Fall Festival of the Arts for two years and Art in the Pearl for 2018. These are brief but profoundly inspiring events. I hope to see you there.
My job is to bring the ingredients, the props, the story elements to the stage.
Breathing, heart beating, generosity spreads, our broader selves in collaboration. The event a shifting sense of being, a fragment of the essence of our relationship.
My best to you.