Nipple, panic button or sun hat…?

I have been playing around with random porcelain slab forms, creating shapes that please me but are in no way meant to be representational. I had in my mind the desire to see how much the brain makes up an incomplete picture in order to make sense of what the eye sees. I threw some small  ‘nipple’ shapes on the wheel and then attached them in a crude way to my porcelain slab forms. What appeared to me was an instant torso, with a questionable gender because the nipples are so erect and defined, whereas the female breast is absent.

Nipple forms detailNipple form detail
Two nipple forms
Two nipple forms

Nonetheless, I was reminded yet again about the subjectivity of art – a fellow ceramicist (won’t mention any names…) asked me as I was attaching the clay nipples to the forms, whether they were panic buttons or sun hats. I am not kidding – he really did not see what I saw. So much for the brain making up its own story….What do you see??

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Arts,Literature and Nature at work…

The concept of turning an old unused detention facility into a vibrant center for artists and art lovers is being set into motion at the recently opened Lorton Workhouse Art Center. Even though it is a rather isolated place, there is lots of art to see and lots of artist studios to visit. The facility itself boasts a state-of-the-art gallery space. This is where I come into the picture (excuse the pun). Curator Marti Kirkpatrick and her husband are presenting an exhibition called Poetic Art in honor of their poet son who died in Iraq. The exhibition is about the seamless marriage between two compatible disciplines – poetry and art, and how they inspire each other. Two of my burnt porcelain book-based works from the exhibition Living Without Them will be paired with Saul Sosnowski’s poetry, which was inspired by the pieces. He will be in good company – among the poets represented is Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry.  The opening reception will be held on Sunday October 25th from 2-5pm. I think it will be worth a trip to Lorton.

In the course of the day, my cat Kiki unfortunately caught a bird and proceded to do away with the poor creature right under my dining room table. Of course I felt badly for the bird, but could not help pulling out one of my burnt porcelain books incribed with a phrase from a Baghdad resident sadly summing up the desperate situation in Baghdad two years ago :”Only birds can go where they like these days.” I placed my dead feathered friend gently in the fold of the gold-leafed porcelain page, and the tableau seemed so tragic, as if to say “No, not even the birds can go where they like…”

Not even birds....(Porcelain book, gold leaf, dead bird)
Not even birds....(Porcelain book, gold leaf, dead bird)