opening up

There’s this process when working a clay sculpture where you have to hollow it out, either digging out from below or slicing open the back of the head or cutting it into pieces in order to get inside and remove the excess clay. This allows for more even drying and reduces the risk of a disaster in the kiln. It’s also really really scary and I approach it holding my breath and getting as close to prayer as is possible for me, as I destroy my hard work in order to save it from the fire’s wrath.

In my work, I like to allow the process to become a visible part of the piece — letting the sketchy lines show through the paint, showing eraser marks on drawings, leaving parts undone. I consider the process to be part of the beauty of art, just as I find beauty in the bones of things, the roots, the dirty, messy parts that usually are the parts that support life. So the idea of showing these parts is really intriguing to me.

Given the recent vulture sculpt, I am intrigued by the idea of opening up the figures. I’m planning on doing a series of sculpts and maybe drawings and such that are broken open, mixing up the external with the internal; the outer bits with the innards. Holes in the heads, bones poking through, showing the hollowed out form, secrets revealed.

I don’t think it will be terribly gruesome.


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