I am currently at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT for the month of June as one the resident artists in a group called The Edge in celebration of the Bray’s 60th anniversary. I arrived at the Bray with two plans of action, to assembly a MakerBot to continue my investigation of printing porcelain (YouTube), via an extrusion process, and to begin a body of work that specifically deals with design, function, and clay. The MakerBot is assembled and ready to go as soon as a couple of replacement boards arrive early next week. I began this research last fall with good success, which I hope to build on. I also began to investigate forms today, though nothing specifically in mind really just focused play to get the process primed.
It was also a beautiful Saturday with friends new and old, followed by an early evening rain and an amazing rainbow.
Chad Curtis will be presenting his newest body of work, reconfigured specifically for the gallery space, entitled Speculative Landscapes. This multimedia construction incorporates ceramics with found objects, live plants and a digitally designed support system of shelving. Live moss encased in terrariums, referencing the Industrial Revolution when these miniature garden landscapes became popular, alludes to Curtis’ interest in the shift in the relationship between humankind and nature that occurred so rapidly in the 19th century. This is combined with multiple clay evergreen trees signifying the artificiality of the ideal landscape, both in the past as well as today. As Curtis states “these miniature landscapes, coupled with iconic trees made of raw clay, are situated on a complex system of shelving (both digitally designed and milled) that creates multiple, dislocated horizon lines, which becomes a literal intersection of design, landscape, and technology. Not unlike the Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution has further distanced the human relationship to the natural world, ushering in an era of mediated experiences removed from the world of tactility and the physical nature of the body.”
Curtis received an M.F.A. from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY. He is an Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Previously, Curtis taught at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, and Pomona College, Claremont, CA.
The newest of my work, Speculative Landscapes incorporates real, living elements in the form of moss contained in terrariums. Moss is a simple plant, more closely related to algae than to common plants of today, and has survived for approximately 250 million years. Wardian Cases (terrariums) rose to popularity during the 19th century on the heels of the Industrial Revolution and the concentration of people in urban centers. Terrariums served as a means of protection from the polluted air of Victorian cities, and allowed for nature to be brought into the domestic space, fostering a connection to the natural world in an era when the human relationship to their environment changed more rapidly and significantly than at any other point in history. These miniature landscapes, coupled with iconic trees made of raw clay, are situated on a complex system of shelving (both digitally designed and milled) that creates multiple, dislocated horizon lines, which becomes a literal intersection of design, landscape, and technology. Not unlike the Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution has further distanced the human relationship to the natural world, ushering in an era of mediated experiences removed from the world of tactility and the physical nature of the body.
Edge of Life: Forest Pathology
January 21st – March 26th, 2011
The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House
3329 E. Main Street
Nacogdoches, TX www.forestryart.blogspot.com
The Edge of Life collaboration brings together the fields of forest pathology and art, explores the place they meet, and culminates in a traveling art/science exhibition and book. The exhibition includes artists from Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Art and ecological artists from across the nation. The The goals are to share sciences’ ability to inspire culture through art, to present a wide range of innovative approaches to making art, and to educate about the field of forest pathology.
This article features the developments of my studio practice in the past few years, which Glen Brown refers to as “arguably one of the most important projects to be introduced to ceramic art in this first decade of the 21st century.”