Interview with ceramic artist Roxanne Jackson - Artist of the month, June-July 2011
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Ceramics Now Magazine: The theme of your works is very dramatic and sometimes macabre. Why did you take this challenge of confronting with your subconscious?
Roxanne Jackson: I want to make work about whatever comes natural to me. Instead of, for instance, sitting down to brainstorm different ideas to see what comes up, and then pick the ‘best one’ to use, I would rather see what surfaces naturally— when it is uncensored. Of course I am making decisions but, I allow room for intuition—rather than forcing the work to go in a particular direction. Art certainly has many roles—one is to depict and create beautiful objects. But, that is not the only way art can serve us.
Cadaver-Stirrup - View Roxanne Jackson’s works
We all know that the human nature has a dark side. You explore and question this side with your works and with what they express. Do you find exploring this side of human nature to be hard?
Not at all. I find the work honest and refreshing. I am currently building a two-part piece to be installed at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens (Long Island City), New York this fall. Socrates is a contemporary sculpture park which support truly innovative outdoor sculpture. I am creating two dead animals—one will be a white unicorn (with a crystal formation for the horn)—made from fired ceramic. The other form will be a life-sized adobe (and cement) buffalo, also dead. I am creating this work to comment on traditional outdoor sculpture that commonly depicts animals—usually, the powerful, regal stag in its prime-is represented (and cast in bronze). I have often wanted to see a nature sculpture that depicts an animal that is aging, for instance. Because, then the work would raise a different type of emotion and/or empathy within the viewer. In the same way the viewer can identify with beauty, she or he can also identify with pain, aging and all sorts of other complicated emotions. So, since I have never seen any outdoor sculpture like this, I decided to just make it myself.