Artist's Statement: Unbearable Lightness of Being Series
I was inspired by Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being to build these sculptures of thin porcelain fragments. The pieces are surprisingly light in weight, almost negligible. I also play with the way that light penetrates and enlivens the interior of the piece, even though it is constructed of earth. And of course, porcelain is a light or white clay.
Unbearable is depicted not just by the lightness, but also by my use of fragments. These fragments reflect the fragmentation within and all around me. They ask the question: Once fragmented, is something automatically broken and useless? Or can fragments mend and come to constitute a whole, even something lovely? Alexa Brazilian writes of the emergence of “beautifully flawed” ceramics.
The fragments are thin, almost skin-like. As I construct the piece by “coil” method, sometimes I leave tiny holes. Lately these have become larger holes, again emphasizing our vulnerability. The coils remind me of bones, of ribs coming together. I use color to emphasize where the piece is coming apart/ coming together. The pieces look fragile, but porcelain is in fact a very strong clay.
As I work, I also think about Georgia O'Keeffe's flower paintings, leaves and feathers, Mondrian, and even machinery pieces. I think about forces: waves, wind, clouds racing across the sky, icebergs and icebergs melting, the movement of crustal plates, the delicate balance between our human needs and the needs of our environment. In the world surrounding us there is a collision of forces, fragmentation, even chaos. Somehow the center holds, even when it seems that centripetal force is about to spin everything away. There is subtle orderliness, movement towards healing and growth, and much beauty. These are tensions that I embody in these sculptures.