“What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we go downstairs, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed on order to sleep. How? Where? When? Why? ― Georges Perec: L’Infra Ordinaire
I am drawn to the human tendency to physically and psychologically accumulate potent objects. Much of my work revolves around the idea that memory, with all its temporal shifts, attaches itself to the physical environment and the accumulated objects with which we surround ourselves like an ephemeral residue. Memory is a nebulous thing. I am intrigued by the amorphous chronology of remembering and its non-linear behavior in opposition to our customary human perception and experience of time. The arrow of time moves in one direction, always forward, but memory loops around time. It folds unto itself, speeds up and slows down and weaves around us, subtly haunting us with the slightest Proustian provocation – be it a letter stuffed away in a jean pocket, the smell of lilac, a piece of furniture in your bedroom from your mother, or a scuff on the wall. They are all conduits for memory, a way to expand our present, to weave in and out of time, regardless of tense. The objects we choose to keep and the space with which we fill them are extensions of our bodies, minds, and experiences beyond time.
I often reference architectural, domestic space and the modes of storage usually found within a home like a chest of drawers or shelving. I see this as an ordering of actual space, which could arguably be the physical manifestation of memory embedding itself in our spaces — of how memory is stored and retrieved in the spatial reliquary of our minds. I am particularly drawn to thresholds, both literal and metaphorical, like a wall, doorway, windowpane, or the line between public and private space, permanence and impermanence, past and present, perception and reality. These all represent the state of between, boundaries, or of division between worlds – the interstice where I see memory inhabiting. I imagine the construction of the walls of our homes as embedded with our memories, with the daily accumulation and sedimentation as evidence of time past. Our tangible clothes, bowls, cutlery, and furniture along with our seemingly intangible habits, routines, and thoughts become stratified bricks composing an historical core sample of our lives. These become part of a physical, psychological, and metaphorical architecture, one that, perhaps, memory would take if it assumed physical form.
I use clay for its conceptual and transformative properties. One of the most important techniques I use throughout my work to support my ideas is the process of dipping textile fabrics from used clothing into porcelain slip. I mostly utilize certain fabrics with textural qualities as a reference to things that are familiar to us in our daily lives – the zig-zag of corduroy, or a zipper, lace, the cabling and loops of a knit sweater. These fabrics are soaked in porcelain slip and then, much like the long line of memory contorting to fit in our time-bound frame of reference, are rolled, twisted, and compressed into a large brick form. The discreet textures of the fabrics and material shifts from the use of other raw materials, glaze, metals and colored slips, create layers that are only revealed once the work is cut open post-firing with a wet saw – an alarmingly violent way of unearthing its subtle secrets.
I like the idea of slip entombing an object to create a delicate, protective layer of clay. While the porcelain is in its raw state, the fluidity of the cloth is held in suspension and becomes timeless, unmoving. The slip is easily cracked open or dissolved by water to reveal the underlying core of fabric – it is breakable and impermanent, like our recollections. In its fired state, the original cloth material is lost, leaving a detailed hollow porcelain shell. Once fired, it is now permanent. Its thin shell is perhaps more fragile in its permanent fired-state, and more easily broken by gravity or the slightest misstep than before. For the work, this fragility and absence or disappearance of matter is as equally crucial as the tangible ceramic material left after the firing. The hollow space is much like a memory, something without mass, but still having an indelible weight.