What I couldn’t verbalize growing up is that to me there are two fields of exploration that are limitless. One is the exploration of humanity and the human condition, of which artistic expression is a direct condensate. The other is the scientific exploration of the universe, which is done through systems that boil down to the fundamental science of physics and language of mathematics. Both are equally beautiful explorations and have similar qualities, but for many they are irrevocably divergent. One sentiment holds that artistic pursuits are hopelessly impractical. The other is that science is devoid of aesthetics, spirituality, and emotion, and therefore fails to explain or address real human experiences. I believe much of the polarization seen in modern society today relates to these sentiments.
My pursuit is to produce work that demonstrates a harmony between these paths of exploration. My conviction is that beauty of the highest quality is achieved through work that can contextualize not only the human experience, but also the world that it exists in. This is a tall order for any single body of work, but it describes the underpinnings of why I pursued a double major in materials science engineering and ceramic fine arts. These concepts lay the groundwork for a career long exploration.
My recent work explores the balance of aesthetic and technical knowledge that exists specifically in ceramics. Clay itself demands a certain balance of art and science to achieve desired aesthetics, and while this is a well exercised example of art and technology, it was an essential exploration for me in contextualizing why I work with clay. I feel that I must thoroughly understand a concept before I can give myself license to go beyond it. So, if I want to make work that explores art and science using clay as a medium, I first had to its explore its scientific and conceptual foundations and could find no better place to start than with the ancient technology of wood firing.
Most of my recent work was built in Arizona and fired in an Anagama kiln I built in Denver, Colorado. The Anagama represents one of the most primitive technologies used to produce high-fired ceramics. The work from this kiln explores an interesting dynamic between the energy input required to produce an ageless and timeless aesthetic. The work also reflects an important family lineage. I built the kiln primarily with the help of my Grandfather, a winemaker, and many of the bricks used to build my kiln came from an Anagama that my uncle built years prior on the same property. There are emotional and aesthetic qualities in this work that led me to explore Japanese kintsugi (golden joinery) restoration that emphasizes rather than hides repairs. The figurative hand forms introduce the ever-present relationship between humanity and the technologies we develop.