“My work has a sculptural yet functional element to it and encompasses a sense of traditional ceramic techniques. Within this tradition is the art of storytelling and symbols which evoke certain sentiments and nostalgia but also a sense of the present environment. This environment is psychological and therefore each piece points to emotions within the narrative.
My present work is currently narrated by the symbol of the chair. How does one define a simple thing like the chair? What makes the chair, a chair? As James Joyce says in A Portrait of a young man, “Is a chair conceived as a work of tragic or comic art?” No other object forcefully shapes the physical, social and emotional dimensions of our lives. On the chair seats only one person at a time and responds to the body through comfort. It has a communicative function and offers a glimpse into our collective ideas about that sense of comfort and order. One can imagine the world from a persons’ perspective as it communicates compassion. Just as its absence communicates disrespect, lack of empathy and loss, whether this loss is a physical or emotional one.” Kira O’Brien
Intrigued by the tenuous connection between past, present and future and the shadowy, illusive meaning of time, Annie Woodford makes work that is both haunting and enigmatic. Shifting boundaries between science and metaphysics and an enduring interest in parallel universe theory instill the pieces with a heightened intensity, whilst an obsession with hidden worlds has prompted her investigations into microscopy and the nano universe - making the unseen seen.
Captivated by the natural world and our mysterious, infinite universe - whether seen at macroscopic or microscopic levels - she finds them the source of endless fascination and wonder. Mankind’s place within that universe and the dichotomy between our wish for progress and our proclivity for self-destruction, has become a central theme.
A passion for frozen environments and the message they embrace, not only from the past but also for the future of our planet has resulted in research trips to the Arctic and Iceland and a detailed study of the coldest place on Earth – Antarctica.
The work exhibits qualities that reflect the natural world, elements that highlight its beauty and transience. Fragile, frangible, complex and esoteric, delicately balanced between risk and control, her pieces float and oscillate between absence and presence, hovering silently in a place between.
‘Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere’ Blaise Pascal, mathematician, poet, philosopher.
“All my life I have been fascinated with form and color. During my youth I watched my mother dabble in various art media; eventually she settled on ceramics. Inspired by her explorations I struck out on my own. I focused on the two-dimensional plane first with photography, then painting, and finally printmaking. Recently I began attending a community Raku night where I discovered my true joy is interacting with clay and creating three-dimensional forms. The spontaneity and plasticity of the medium makes handbuilding a process of discovery - full of surprises. My approach is a collaboration where the clay and I work together to discover hidden shapes and reveal emotions and personalities through animal forms.
Just as friends and acquaintances have their own distinctive traits and behaviors, each of my sculpted animals has personality and expresses a unique character. When people step into my world (via studio or gallery), they often smile and chuckle as they recognize a bit of themselves, their pets, friends or family members in the postures and expressions of my sculptures. In this work, my intention is to present the best of humanity through our animal friends and to help us laugh and love our differences and ourselves.” Paula Bellacera
“While growing up near the ocean, I spent many hours peering at tiny creatures and looking for clues to their secret lives. This began a lifelong passion for the the minute details, the battered fragments, and the myriad patterns of organic life. The smallest bits of bone or shell would ignite intense curiosity and imaginative leaps; What was this creature? What did it look like? How did it die? Did it have a family, a home, or friends? Did it feel or think? What would it have thought of me? I create sculptural objects in an empathetic attempt to gain insight into the inner life of creatures and I seek to spark curiosity and imaginative leaps in the viewer.
Clay is critical to exploring these ideas. Touching clay and responding to its organic properties are key aspects of my largely exploratory and intuitive creative process. Risk taking and pushing materials to their limits is also important. I experiment with the forces used to shape clay, glaze, and glass as a process for imagining and exploring the effects of natural forces. I combine clays with glass or other materials to see what they reveal about their individual properties when they are fused together.” Debra Fleury