Jason Hackett: Laborer, 2011, Ceramic, gold leaf, 38” x 12” x 12”
“The impulse to decorate is strong. The push to create a border or impose a structured order on the already beautiful order of the (chaotic) natural world is compelling. Humans have always done so.
My work draws from and responds to visual idioms found throughout human history. Visual languages flow from culture to culture and through time; I explore how the changes of motifs and technologies show development and transformation in societies. I draw from our species’ long and intimate relationship with our surroundings, both natural and man-made. To that end, I use a variety of mostly found and repurposed clays to refer to both the contributions of previous makers in our collective art history and the stratigraphy of the Earth. My work is influenced by archaeology, geology, industry and the commonality of human experience through time and across culture.” Patricia Sannit
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Patricia Sannit received her BA in ceramics, Art History and Norwegian from the University of Minnesota and her MFA from the California College of Arts. She now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Sannit’s work is influenced by her experiences excavating in the Near East and Ethiopia. Sannit’s most recent project is a large-scale ceramic installation, Citadel, based on an archeological site in Iraq. “I am interested in the story of the earth, our species, and pots. History is manifest in the scarred and worn surface of our planet and in a pot well made and well used.”
Patricia Sannit: Eroded Poles, 2012, 12”x9”x11”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Ely glacier, 2012, 6”x12”x11”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Apollo column, 2011, 30”x12”x12”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Earth Orbit, 2010, 10”x9”x11”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Double Cylinder, 2011, 6”x7”x6”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
Patricia Sannit: Hemisphere 1198, 2008, 8”x12”x12”, cast, carved and incised found and reclaimed clays, slip and stain
“The basic elements in my work are the materials: clay and glaze. I enjoy engaging in expressive ceramic experiments that test the boundaries of material and form.
I often take my point of departure in nature’s principles and regularities of form. This results in strange inscrutable sculptural growths and large wild and amorphous nature abstractions that may be both lush and melancholic with an expression of beauty in both growth and decay.” Bente Skjøttgaard
“Bente Skjøttgaard is a ceramist: she was born in 1961. In much the same manner as a runner or an existential philosopher, she is cultivating her material, which is clay overcoated with an application of glaze. She is a master of her field and she is “inside” the clay in the sense that she is challenging herself each and every time she creates a new work. The glazed pieces are constantly becoming larger and more voluminous, with interiors consisting of complicated constructions, as is the case inside a person or an animal, a prehistoric creature or another biological phenomenon. And the beauty cannot be mistaken. It is a kind of primeval nature, but accordingly a nature that is created both from within and from without, in the course of a protracted reciprocal interplay.” Excerpt from “Elements in white”, a text By Erik Steffensen - Professor at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.
/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two
Ceramics Now Magazine: You are a very young ceramic artist. When did you discover the potential of this medium? Did school have an important role in directing you on this path?
Ruth Power: Like most artists. makers or craftspeople, I have been interested in art and working with my hands from a very young age. I had a fairly basic art education in secondary school in Ireland (largely based on 2-dimensional drawing work) - quite the antithesis of what we do in third level education. However, I decided that I wanted to attend the National College of Art and Design (Dublin) from a fairly young age and my art teachers in school encouraged me to do so.
The college has a great system, by which everybody does a Core Year in their primary year (four years in total). From here, the student embarks on their first steps towards their professional formation as artists, designers and educators. The student has the opportunity to sample the diverse courses the college has to offer and in turn, discover where their strengths, weaknesses and passions lie.
Many people (such as myself when I began) have no idea what department they wish to pursue when they enter, so this system works really well. Throughout the year, I did a lot of 3D making and intricate work with wire and found objects, so I decided to go into the Ceramics, Glass and Metals Department, specializing in metals. However, when I entered the department I fell in love with ceramics and its diversity. I knew nothing about the material, glazing or mold-making. The only experience I had with clay was when I made a pinch pot in 1993 for Mother’s Day. I painted in neon pink and yellow (which was in vogue at the time!) with ‘Ruth Power, Age 5’ scrawled into the base. I was in instant awe of the abundance of potential of the material, and the infinite amount of creative and scientific exploration that could be done with this ancient medium. Thus, it was only until I was in my second year of college that I discovered the potential of ceramics.
Breasts (Cephalophilia), 2011, 48cm wide x 42cm long x 14cm deep; porcelain, LED light, cord, plug, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior (Black and white image) - View her works
Your works are debating subjects like censorship, mainstream pornography or sexual repression: did you choose these topics in the hunt for controversy?
I have identified with being a feminist for many years now and these subjects have been of huge importance to me. I had researched and discussed those topics for quite some time before merging them into my artwork, when I was in Third/Fourth Year. I wrote my thesis on a very similar subject (how pornography is influencing mainstream trends). In Second Year, we focused on skills and techniques and thus, did not get the chance to incorporate much of our own expression. It wasn’t until Third Year that we were taking on self directed projects and had the opportunity to entirely immerse ourselves into our own fully developed concepts.
To me personally, the work is not controversial; it is dealing with issues that I believe need to be addressed urgently and discussed more openly. Its just that sexual politics and pornography are not usually deliberated, and the naked body is still taboo in our culture. Moreover, because I have had a considerable interest in such topics for quite some time, any of the initial ‘shock’ factor had been lost on me a long time ago. So, for me, the work was never really controversial (especially since I have an open attitude towards sex, sexuality and the body). It was bringing to light issues that I believe need to be confronted, issues that affect me personally.