Constance McBride: Between Two Worlds is on view at Clay on Main Gallery, Oley, PA
September 6 – October 30, 2020
Clay on Main Gallery is pleased to present Between Two Worlds, a solo exhibition by Constance McBride.
“For years I studied the human form through drawing, but once I began exploring it three-dimensionally with clay, I became hooked. It’s used to create things of beauty and function for thousands of years and it became the primary focus of my practice. I explore our relationship with nature and the cycle of life through themes of identity and memory. The aging process, rejected by many and specifically linked to failure as it relates to women, is a concept I delve into via un-idealized female faces and figures. I hand build my pieces and often incorporate bits of nature and other found objects dipped in clay slip, to illuminate a specific narrative. I reference my own body to claim agency as the subject and owner of my work; made through a lens of empowerment to address contemporary issues faced by women.
Between Two Worlds: It was hard not to talk about border issues in my work while living in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The desert was an ever-present influence on me. Collected bits and pieces of debris were slip dipped and coated with underglazes and crawl glazes. Some were fired numerous times, others only once and some, not at all. These bits share aspects of our human condition; impermanence, while paradoxically, the ability to exist for thousands of years. Clay sculpted human limbs and a full figure are intertwined with tree limbs amidst the debris. The full figure is in shavasana or, corpse pose. The yoga asana is meant to be done at the end of a practice to remove fatigue and give rest to the mind. In eastern culture its deeper meaning is directly related to preparing for death. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust… we are all made of the same stardust.
Truth from Within: Balasana or, childs pose was used to create shelter and attempt to reach the truth and acceptance from within, the only place it seems we can find it in such divisive, tumultuous times in the world and specifically now for those of us in America, with the political climate.
Whisperers: from a series began in 2014 after the death of my mother; ancestors may have left this world but they are still whispering to us. As we age and continue to navigate through the challenges of our world, I wish that people would pay more attention to their elders and learn from history’s past mistakes.”
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Constance McBride’s work addresses the human condition in relation to nature. When residing in the Southwest, observations of the desert made a transformative impact on her practice. Exploring themes of identity and memory, the emphasis is placed on issues most experienced by women. Her work has been supported by grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix Art Museum’s Contemporary Forum, Philadelphia Sculptors and the Covid-19 Arts Aid PHL program. Museum exhibitions include Phoenix Art Museum and Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art in AZ, Las Cruces Museum of Art in NM, San Angelo Museum of Art in TX, The State Museum of Pennsylvania and Biggs Museum of American Art in DE. Notable gallery exhibitions include Craft Forms at Wayne Art Center and The Clay Studio National in PA, America’s ClayFest International at Blue Line Arts in CA and Beyond the Brickyard at Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in MT. McBride’s work has received attention from several publications including Yahoo News, Visual Art Source, Philly Artblog, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill Valley Journal and the international platform Ceramics Now. Now living and working in Chester Springs, PA, she is actively involved with art communities in the Philadelphia metro area. McBride earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arcadia University, Glenside, PA.
Materials: desert debris; stoneware paper clay, clay slips, underglazes, crawl glazes, crackle glazes (some left raw, some coated with slip but not fired, some with underglazes, glazes and fired).
Figures: stoneware paper clay, copper carbonate, iron oxide, wax, wire.
313 Main Street
Oley, PA 19547
Between Two Worlds: Joshua Steffy
Truth from Within: side view – Phoenix Art Museum Staff / front view – Amy Weaver
Whisperers: Carlos Alejandro