Sunday, September 9, 2007

Megan 9/2007

Artist Statement

I am a journeyer seeking a place that feels like home. I find glimpses in the expanse of the sky, the embrace of a friend and in the structure of geometric form.

My artwork explores concepts of community and mobility. For me, these ideas open a conversation about tension and opposition. The rich possibilities of the open road contrast with the soft comfort of home. Instability creates a desire for order.

The goal of my artwork is to consider the reconciliation of contradictions. My work opens the door to balancing freedom with belonging.


critial ceramics said...

Hey everyone --
This is Megan commenting on my own work....
Wow, it's great.

Actually I just wanted to make a few clarifications about the work I posted. The top two images are of the same piece; in the first photo, the cups are hanging on pegs and the tray is on one end; the tray is down with the cups on top in the second. The third and fourth images are the same deal -- the tray is upside down in the third image, and flipped over with fewer cups in the fourth image.

The fifth and sixth images are of pieces that are unglazed. They are intended to be wall pieces and I will most likely salt fire them, which will make them brown and white rather than pink.

critial ceramics said...

It's Megan again. OK, I feel a little silly leaving so many comments for my own work....

But I had a small revelation about my work/ artist statement that I wanted to share and hear your thoughts on. It is probably glaringly obvious, but my realization is that my work is very gendered and that my experience of being female has been formative. Specifically, when I was younger I really rejected typical feminine roles and had a real fear of being trapped in female domesticity. I embraced a lot of typically masculine things. Now I am trying to reconcile all that with wanting kids, wanting home etc. etc.

Anyway, that all is still rough but I think I need to put elements of it in my statement.


Kip said...

Hiya Megan -- It's great to see some of your latest work... I'll start with the wall pieces since you said that is where you are these days.

I really enjoy the contrast of the metal fence patterns on the soft, pillow-like ceramic forms. The way you utilized the flashing slip on the last piece works well to draw my eye from one square to the next. The ties on the top piece do that as well -- pulling a line diagonally through the work. While I find these pots engaging, I don't know that I feel a strong connection to the ideas in your artist statement. I see tension and opposition most obviously in the middle wall piece, through surface treatment and color. Is the pattern on the inset piece made from a wood impression? Are you commenting on nature and domestic life with these? Since you've had a chance to really work on and develop your artist statement, It would be helpful to know more about how you think this work and your statement correspond with each other – or how your aiming for this new work to correspond.

I know you said you are moving away from function, but I love the top two pieces that are actually four. In many ways, they have a very sculptural feel to them. The cups with the tray, for example, look like they are sitting on a bridge (especially when you have the two sitting on the tray upside down). I feel like these really do tie in with what you are saying about community -- the desire to be with people -- and this pull to go off on your own. It's interesting how different those two pieces are when you flip over the tray and take away a few cups. I think you're doing some unexpected and unique things with the display of all of these, in some situations they feel like partners and in others they feel very isolated... When you exhibit these, I think it could be really interesting to make a few of each, so that you can see them side by side in their different configurations. One of the things that makes these pots so interesting to me, is how strongly the set-up influences the mood and feeling they convey.

In terms of your artist statement (I promise I'll be nice!), I think it's obvious you've put a lot of thought into it. For the most part it reads very well, but I stumble on this sentence: The rich possibilities of the open road contrast with the soft comfort of open. I'm a little confused about the soft comfort of open part. How is open soft and comfortable? I think if you clarify that sentence, it’s really headed in a great direction!
Great post, Megan – lots to think about!

Kip said...

I think this idea of your work being gendered is really interesting. I'm not quite sure how I would fit that into your statement, but I can definitely see some of that in your work (not glaringly, however). I like the idea of soft and feminine (your white, clean cups) in combination with things masculine (crusty wood-fired surfaces).

mel said...

i'm sorry it has taken me so long to comment. i've been looking at and thinking about your pots a lot, and of course first checked right away (you know how excited i was) but haven't carved out any time to comment until now. here i am.

first, the artist statement. knowing what you went through to write it- the moments of truth and clarity, the distillation process, etc., there's no way that it can't be right on. it is the essence of what you think about and struggle with. its beautiful and poetic, and makes me smile to read. however, personally, i think its too short. :) i want two more sentences in the second paragraph to expand upon and explain to someone who doesn't know you what you mean by the "soft comfort of open", and what "Instability creates a desire for order." really means to you in your life. knowing you, i get it, but how does that sentence help a random viewer relate to your work? also, i really love the third paragraph as a beginning. maybe just one more expansive sentence... i don't know. HOW does your work open the door to balancing freedom with belonging? perhaps you just learned every reason why you shoudn't have to expand upon these things, but to me, it needs just a FEW more words/sentences specifically relating what you are doing to you and how you are.

and the work. yes, a new direction, like you said. :) i am particularly fascinated by the first piece. when its upright, the hole in the "bottom" is almost reminiscent of a drain, like the cups are hanging there drying after having just taken a shower. :) i think all the parts of the piece relate to one another and fit together really well, and their interaction is less expected than the tray with cups. i like that the cups are still useable, and that i can imagine their function in day-to-day life, and how much joy i would get from putting them in thier place and hanging them on their pegs. this is defintiely creating order amidst the freedom of invention.

the cups with tray is great, and i feel like maybe you've done something like this before? like kip, i think the bridge feeling really works, and i wonder if i would like 2 cups inside the tray and far ends more than the 4. i dont' know. i'm sure you've experimented with this sort of thing (how many, where they are inside, how they interact with one another), etc.

as for the wall hangings, i simply am not sure i understand them yet. i've looked at and thought about them a lot, and i'm not sure what you mean. i like what they look like, and appreciate the tension between the barbed wire imagery and the soft form, but beyond that, i'm not sure. maybe because your other pieces are so innovative, this just seems to simple to me. but then again, maybe that's a good thing sometimes, like you're distilling the motions you need to say what you want to, or that you're simply feeling in another direction and this is the first step. am i missing something? probably. also, if you hadn't told me that the winged forms were supposed to be winged forms, i woud've thought they were supposed to be more like ribbons or something. maybe they either need to be more propeller like, or need to have feathery texture? i'm not sure. but i can see the gender thing going on here. my favorite, though, is the one in the middle. i love that the indentation in the pillow really accents its volume, and that the piece that fits inside doesn't quite fit. that one is the most powerful to me.

so there you go. i would very much love to hear the answers to some of the questions i just asked... i dont' think you shoudl be at all shy about commenting on your own work. i kind of like it. :)


critial ceramics said...


The sentence from the artist statement is supposed to read:
"The soft comforts of home." Oh proofreading...

I will comment more on your comments at a later date.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and insights.

critial ceramics said...

Ok, here are more thoughts/ explanations from Megan.

Artist statement:
I do think it is a little vague. I think that in writing it, I was feeling up in the air about the direction of my work, and wanted a statement that defined me, rather than my work. I'm about ready to do away with the first paragraph, and I like the idea of moving the last paragraph first.

Today, when I was thinking about it, I realized that my work is also about intimacy and boundaries. I've talked about the boundaries in the past. For me, pots are intimate objects -- especially cups. I keep doing things to them that interferes with the intimacy -- think back to the spikey pots. The chainlink pillows (and lately I'm making barbed wire pillows) also follow in this vein.

Regarding the pots with trays/ holders:
I feel very conflicted about these pieces -- or whether or not to continue down this road. When I make them, I feel very interested in making the tray, and then making the pots became this chore. That made me think that maybe I'm not as interested in pots, but really I am. Doing things like putting holes through the pots does make them considerably less functional. Also there is something about them (especially the hanging cups) that feels a bit gimmicky to me. But I do really like the idea of the contrast of storage and display, the versatility of a set of pieces. And I really like the tray forms. Kip, I like your idea about making multiples to display in different arrangements, because this is something I have stumbled against.

Ok, the wall pieces -- it's funny how in my mind, my work is so much more than the photographs, and when I show a photograph I somehow assume you can also see into what is in my mind. My intention for them, currently, is to have blocks of four or nine pillows, with some sort of imagery spreading across them, and then some wings/ propellers sprouting out of them. I also am working on some that have chainlink texture on part, and more random texture on part.

They do feel very simple to me, and outside of my normal tools of interpretation or criteria because they aren't pots. It is something I have wanted to do for a while so I do need to go down this road for a while...

Kip said...

I agree that it is great to hear from the poster multiple times - it certainly feels more like a conversation that way! Replacing open with home, helps that sentence make sense! I like the idea of moving the last paragraph first, and agree with Mel that expanding things just a bit could help us get a better sense of Megan. I can also relate to the difficulty of hitting on an artist statement that works well when you're still feeling conflicted about your work. I certainly feel that way a lot of the time! It seems like you have some great tools for continually working your statement though -- I think as long as you're willing to make changes as you and your work change, I think you're in good shape!

I am definitely interested to see more of the wall pieces, it sounds like you have some intriguing ideas about where they are going... I'm in Mel's camp, however, that the wings/propelers didn't really give me that feeling. I thought of neck scarves, I think because they look soft and fabric-like. Perhaps if you tapped into your love of geometry and made these a little more angular, they would convey the feeling you want.