BFA Thesis Artist Statement
Clay is such a seductively direct medium—it is so inherently plastic and malleable and can be used comparatively rapidly to make a palpable, intransient statement. (as intransient as any object vulnerable to a hammer.) Other media like type journalism, television and film seem to have an aspect of impermanence, perhaps due only to their ubiquity and hyper-saturation, and their dependence on advanced technology. I’ve tried over the past two years to filter through this morass of media to condense and render my understanding of politics and power through my own prejudices and perceptions into a highly detailed and substantive series of sculptures. I want the work to transcend the traditional role of the OP-ED political cartoon. I think of them as permanent political cartoons or commemorative statues of ideas, psychologies and situations I’d rather folks not forget too hastily.
A degree of realism brings to the pieces a graveness and seriousness that I find cathartic. I’m making statements about living, fallible people who may not deserve or be able to carry the weight of the responsibility we project onto them. Portraiture is thus extremely important to me, as I am fascinated that we assign such archetypal importance to individuals and figureheads. I want each sculpture I present to resemble the person portrayed to the extent that one feels one is able to have a strange intimacy with an individual one has likely never met. Scale is also important in that regard. Small work requires a close and careful examination, drawing the viewer into a smaller space and creating a necessity for delicacy and self-awareness. I try to model through my own behavior and process as an artist an example of extreme attention to detail. I want to communicate with my audience that my subjects are worth paying some considerable attention.
The working title of my series of political cartoons is “Show Business,” referring to my perception that the political arena is like an over-budget made-for-TV movie. Many characters in world politics seem increasingly slickly engineered to fit an expected archetype of the American consciousness. Political camps are judged by the effectiveness of their manufactured image, because image is what consumers have been accustomed to valuing, and image is often all they have time to pay attention to. I intend my sculptures to examine and critique some of the roles our icons are playing on the world stage.