Moving forward, separating and understanding the differences between nostalgia and sentimentality another element within my work I have been interested in is the site of memory, or ‘ sensuous geography’ – the idea that ‘the senses mediate the apprehension of space and in so doing contribute to our sense of place’. Yi-Fu Tuan (1972) was the first to call attention to the spatiality of the senses and their role in shaping the affective relation of people to their habitat. “What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better [through our senses] and endow it with value”’.
Fundamentally it’s the idea that if you were stood on top of a mountain for example, then the sound, feel, and temperature of the atmosphere around you would ultimately denote you to your sense of place and thus your brain would register the fact you are on top of a mountain. What becomes interesting in terms of memory is say for example you visited this location under a second set of circumstances and similar environmental conditions endured then your brain may ultimately remember the preceding set of events, thus upon the second time you visit you may register a greater sense of space as you are adding new memories to a preceding one. You stand on top of the mountain, think back, take a huge breath, breathe out and feel good.
With the objects featured in the images, i am attempting to be slightly more obscure. You could almost look at the objects featured as miniature excavations pulled from my dried out slurry buckets with the site of memory being the buckets themselves. What I do to these excavations or ‘uncovered’ objects is completely controlled. I like the idea of looking at these objects as a series of memories from the past that has been mashed and distorted into the present, much like how I personally view ‘nostalgia’. How I glaze these objects, in terms of aestheticism is purely representational and subjective of my immaterial, material memories and nostalgia, that of early 2000s aesthetics or ‘YTK aesthetics’ – the glad, tacky, wacky space colors and transparent inflatable sofas that dominate my subconscious. These objects are ‘fractured’ representations of my memories and further myself.
Continuing with my glaze experimentation I began the ongoing tradition of submerging extruder parts in various glazes to see how the various chemicals react with one another, more so experimenting with volcanic sand in various glazes and porcelains to test and push its reactive qualities after a friend showed me various effects of the volcanic sand on a variety of ceramic bodies.
With memory, nostalgia, and sentimentality very much at the forefront of my contemporary ideas I began to try and see how glaze can be incorporated further as an approach for these sculptures; thinking back to how the dry vitreous slip resembled that of the cracked earth on the farm in the summer I began reminiscing, expressing and attempting to demonstrate material interests that have alluded me my whole life, even if at this current moment in time I am completely unsure why.
Volcanos, rocks and magma patterns have always interested me and are something that creeps its way into many of my sketchbook ideas, prints, and sculptural works. Until recently, with a greater understanding of ceramic alchemy have I been able to visually demonstrate this. Weirdly, it is not natural volcanos that seem to allude my memories, more so cartoon, digitized and comical portrayals of lava – immaterial representations of natural phenomena. Colours like orange, red, black and white ooze their way from my past into my more recent memories from watching television programs such as cartoon network, nickelodeon and the bright red RAW advertisement of WWF. You could say this is a harmless subliminal messaging of sorts, unintentional but purely situational. By placing the nickelodeon or cartoon network logo in the corner of the screen it’s a sort of branding rather than insidious brain washing tool, none the less has an effect of sorts.
much like memory, I want my sculptures to represent the ‘mish-mash’ of things. Memory for myself is just one giant cluster of ideas and experiences formed by the brain from the past and present all jumbled and reassembled in reality.
For myself something that I have always been interested in is print. More recently with my newly discovered ceramic passion, this is something I haven’t had the time to really play with.
My current prints are a chance to consider my ceramic sculptures and composition ideas from a printmakers angle – to capture The same concepts that allude my sculptures on paper, that of the relationship of texture, pattern colour and materiality and how ultimately all these factors relate to a primal instinct.
Developing my skills within composition has creatively opened my mind not only considering how sculpture can come together to create a language but print as well.
Continuing on from the more naturally aesthetic constructions i have recently been building or ‘monoliths’ i have decided to expand, make them bigger and challenge myself further in the field of ceramics and slab building.
I have decided to use Raku clay to form the sculptures not just because of the general wear of the clay and toughness but because eventually, and most likely in the new year now i want to Raku fire and glaze the vessels.
I have also been challenging myself with the face or ‘opening’ of the objects playing with shape and size, pushing towards a more industrial themed conduit, particularly with the sculpture on the left – feeding through ideas that I began looking into within the Bamana Boli series.
Could we perceive these conduits as shells ?, and by shells homes ? – do these sculptures invite the viewer to possess, To inhabit or conquer ? by there being an opening these questions arise, they bring about possibilities of experience – what does these sculptures mean to someone ? And by someone myself ?.