My late father's ceramics heavily impacted me as a child as they were my only connection to him. When I took ceramics classes growing up the focus would be working on the wheel, which didn't really suit me. For a long time I've dismissed clay as a material that would be part of my series art practice. Until this spring. I've begun adding flat ceramic hands to the irregular shaped plaster paintings.
Last semester I produced eleven paintings for my thesis exhibition, knowing that I would not be able to use all of them, but allowing for there to be many installation options for me to show. This work was produced over the course of six months, with me being in the studio many hours a day. Some paintings took months to reach completion.
When I arrived in Chicago and saw the space that I will be exhibiting in, I felt that in spite of having so many options that there was still something missing. I knew that I wanted to make one more piece, but I also knew that I realistically it may not happen. So I got to work!
Thankfully I had brought ceramic hands with me from Oregon. There is only so much that can be done to hurry along ceramics with the clay drying and kiln access. I selected the small blue ceramic hands to use for the piece because I wanted the last piece to be small in scale in comparison to the other works.
I quickly composed the composition. I then created a form out of corrugated plastic that I would wire the hands to. Next I mixed the paint colors that I would be using on the piece. I needed to have those ready before I started to wrap the corrugated plastic with plaster gaze, as I paint onto the plaster while it is still wet, and the plaster dries rapidly.
After I finished painting on the surface, I allowed the piece to dry for 24 hours, before adding a coat of matte gel medium to the surface. The piece was ready to be installed in the thesis exhibition with very little time to spare. I would have been proud of the work I was showing without this piece, but adding this work in brought it up to the level that I was hoping for. It could have just as easily not worked out to make this work. I think that is what makes art making so exciting-- even with very clear plans and training there is always this element of risk. It remains fascinating to me that some art pieces take me months or years to finish, while a work like this was able to be made in significantly less time.
The Low Res MFA thesis exhibition opens July 11th at 6pm.