By far the largest and most challenging project of the semester was the disembodied monumental head. This self-portrait was an exaggerated, expressionistic narrative that allowed me the opportunity to express myself the most. At three feet high, this piece proved a technical challenge as well. The head was built from the neck up entirely hollow. Using coils and slabs, i built upwards, creating a structure on the inside using slabs as cross-beams. I then added clay to the outside to sculpt the hair and features of the face. Each animal was sculpted seperately, hollowed out, and then fitted in as the hair was added on.
These are a few process images:
The finished self-portrait then received its surface treatment, which consisted of mason stains, and underglaze.
After the surface treatment was completed, it took several of my friends and I a very long night, to load it into the kiln, using a manual lift.
3′ x 24” x 2′
White stoneware, underglaze,mason stains, salt fired (cone 10 reduction)
The piece is now on loan for a period of one year to the Kansas City Art Institute’s new Continuing Educations building. These are some images of me at the opening:
My experiences in life have always led me back to nature, and my artwork is now the medium that allows me to relate those experiences to others. In this monumental self portrait, I strove to personify the idea of a ‘mother nature’. The animals and plants among the figure’s hair are wild and flowing, representing the state of untamed nature. The work also stands as an accurate self-portrait by physically depicting my artistic inspiration. The figure dreams as I dream, of powerful animals thriving, rather than struggling to survive.
I chose to focus on flora and fauna found in North America not only to relate better to the viewer, but to depict animals that are beginning to disappear. The constant upset of habitat, and natural food supply is continually affecting native American wildlife. This particular piece places the viewer face to face with nature herself, and asks them to see more clearly all the value there is in the creatures and plants that encompass her.