Sunday, November 11, 2007

Juliane's work

Hi everyone.

Hopefully I will be technologically astute and this post will go as it is supposed to. This work is fairly recent; I made it early summer while I was in TN. I am still trying to decipher it. I will include a few excerpts of my artist statement below, but I am really curious about people's reactions to the work WITHOUT reading my statement right away. Are there other visual clues that the work is giving you that aren't evident in my statement? Are there aspects of my work that really seem to mesh/not mesh intuitively with what I write?

My ceramic sculpture consists of a series of multiple ceramic forms that are made with a food reference in mind, be it serving vessels or clay forms that resemble baked goods, candy, dumplings, or pasta. I enjoy the meditative process of throwing or handbuilding the same form over and over. Although it takes a lot of time to create a mass of handmade “food” items out of clay, I am attracted to the nuances and rhythm of these objects as they repeat and begin to energize the space around them. Because my clay food items are made of porcelain and are rather small in size, they remind the viewer of a sweet delicacy or treat. I also find the labor involved in handmade work lends a certain preciousness to each object as no two objects are the same.
Multiples and mass production can refer to consumption. A consumer’s choice in selecting one or several items from a multitude becomes of particular interest to me. How does an individual choose a particular item over others? I consider food, its display, and consumption as a metaphor for human sexuality, taste, and appetite. One might be fortunate to make the right choice in selecting a partner, or one might be tempted to choose based on the appearance of a person only to discover that the inside is a disappointment. In my work, repeated “food” objects signify the multiplicity of choices we have in selecting one from a whole. Repetition of clay forms also alludes to the reproductive nature of our species...


Kip said...

Hi Juliane -- Thanks for joining our critique group! It's wonderful to have these regular conversations about new ceramic work - I don't feel like I get to do this often enough.

Okay, so I'm trying to comment without reading your statement, which is tricky, but a great idea...

The thing I most obviously see in your work is a reference to food. I’m definitely getting a pasta vibe. One of the really interesting things I feel is a sense of mingling people. The shapes and colors all seem to cluster and segregate, and yet mix as they go about their business. I also get a strong sense of movement – some pasta waiting to get on the plates, some parading between the two, and some firmly staking out their territory. I feel like there is a story to decipher, and that story can change each time you look...

In addition to a reference to food, I also get the feeling that you’re dealing with some biological structure. I could imagine seeing some of these scenes when examining cells under a microscope. This sense of biological systems is most strong for me in the split tile with the mini rounds flowing through.

The pieces that I’m not so sure how to decipher are the hanging piece and the floor piece. I must say, however, that I love them both. I am fascinated by the shadows created by the pasta strings and I can’t stop looking at the one empty square on the floor piece. I see a common thread between these in the sense of repetition (I guess that carries into all of your work), but I am excited to read more about what inspires them. Okay, I’m going to post this as part one of my post, read your statement and then post part two!

critial ceramics said...

Hi Juliane -
This is Megan commenting.

OK, a disclaimer first -- I am looking at this work from a different perspective because I recently saw pictures of Juliane's grad work and spoke with her about it. So I feel like I have some insider info.

From these images, I see two different things emerging -- the wall pieces with a lot of different components, and the two pieces involving the repetition of the same element. I am going to talk about them separately.

The wall pieces: these pieces use a lot of the same elements as your grad work, but I feel that having them on the wall rather than in a tray changes them drastically. They become inaccessible to the viewer, speak a lot less of functionality, and turn into compositions. As compositions, they make me think of aerial photography, aboriginal paintings and abstract landscape. The most striking one in this regard is the one with the flowing river down the middle. It brings to mind a combination of outer space/ constellations, and menstruation. It strikes me as a piece about emptiness and loss, spilling or bleeding. The other two seem to be cityscapes, busy and crowded.

The other two pieces are quieter and rhythmic. They feel like launching pads to a larger body of work. I like it that the elements are all the same but not identical, and have one thing that is dramatically different (the dark dumpling, the spot with nosheets). I also really like the shadows that are cast on the wall from the hanging pieces. The piece with the sheets of clay speaks of choices -- why more pieces in one pile? They also convey fragility, and give me a visceral urge to stomp on them -- like stepping through ice on a puddle. The hanging piece also conveys fragility and delicacy.

As far as your statement -- I think it is more appropriate to your grad work than this body of work. Choice and consumption ring true. Food and delicacies are often associated with pleasure and delight. For me, these pieces aren't very happy. They don't say "Here's a bunch of tasty things. Choose one" They say more "here's a bunch of fragile things that you can't have". I'm not saying this as criticism -- more for you to look at why the parts of your pieces are becoming less accessible for touching or possessing.

In conclusion, I am going to pass along the advice people give me a lot and I think is appropriate to where you are:
Your work has a lot of ideas, and interesting ideas, going on. Pick one, or a couple, that are particularly intriquing -- including formal ideas -- and follow that road for a while and see where it takes you.

Hope this helps!

mel said...

hello julianne!
how exciting to see your work! its been pretty much since college for me, so i'm coming at this with no info, which i think is good.

so, first i looked at your work without reading your artist statement. my initial impressions were that the larger, more complicated wall and floor pieces were much more interesting than the smaller tile-like ones. however, i do think that perhaps seeing these in real life could really change my opinion. the larger pieces spoke more to me of nature, repetition, and biology than they did of food. that being said, the repeated forms (the hanging strings and the stacked sheets) reminded me of chinese food. i happen to equate fast chinese food with the epitomy of gross, american excess and greasy fastness (more than mcdonalds for some reason), so this set up an interesting idea for me. basically, these small forms repeated over time and space were reminding me of natural images like waterfalls and stones in a river. now, i realize that i'm probably the only person in the world who would think of this, but i did. then, as i thought more about these pieces, they started to be more about fragility and delicacy, as megan said. i also got the aerial feeling, as if i was looking from far away at things that are actually large. they are beautiful landscapes, and i really do wish i could see them up close. i think its important to say, though, that i did not think of "sweet delicacies or treats." i wonder if what i think is the stronger portion of this body of work is stepping beyond your artist statement, and taking each of the ideas you talked about one step further?

on the other hand, after reading your artist statement, i started to understand your thoughts behind the tiles (i'm calling these tiles for lack of a better description). however, they still seem somewhat lacking to me. they feel dirty and messy and excessive, which is probably good, but i don't like the way they are contained on the tile. i feel like they either need to be piled up to insane heights, or that they need to overfill their tile. there is not enough variation in height and weight of the elements to make them interesting to me. i know you're purposely using tiny objects, though, so maybe that's just my problem. perhaps its the way they're all sort of stuck to and grounded onto the surface, but they aren't giving the delicate, fragile feeling to me. i really, really wish i could see them in real life, though, as i'm sure these comments would be different. how large are these pieces, overall? i do like the tiles, but they somehow seem more like uncompleted ideas or sketches for some reason. i really hope this doesn't sound harsh- i don't mean it that way. i guess they just aren't doing it for me like the larger sculptures are. they do, however, seem to relate more to your artist statement, and i'm very interested in many of the ideas contained in there.

as i said already a lot, i wish i could see these pieces in real life. i, like megan, really enjoyed the details in the larger pieces. the more i look at them, the more i want to be with them and interact with them and spend lots of time with them. i really enjoy them, and they seem to really jive with things i think about a lot, as well.

i hope this was helpful, and please feel free to respond!

will you be in northfield over xmas? i'll be in minneapolis... perhaps i could come see you?????

critial ceramics said...

Hi Juliane, welcome to the group!

Martina here...

so a few initial thoughts, i started to read your statement then stopped to do as you asked.

Your level of care in execution is very apparent, as is your sense of the material. The objects are lovingly crafted and present themselves very sensuously in the space. Of all the work, the second flat tile is the least visually interesting. the other wall pieces speak to me of landscapes. The reference to food is obvious (not in a didactic way).

that leads me to ask a few questions (that may or may not be answered if i read the statement).
1. Why are you making food references from clay? I know your cups from NCECA, so i had you in mind as a functional potter, and perhaps food is a way to relate functional pots to sculpture. which leads to question 2. why are you putting these references so far from the table where they came from? i did spy references to multiples and relation to reproduction.

....okay, so just read the statement...I like what you say about the process of making the objects and how that speaks to what it is you're trying to convey with them. However, some of the ideas of human sexuality and choice of partner are not apparent to me. i agree with megan, a focus on a few of these ideas and maybe focusing on formal elements that you feel most strongly evoke them would be a good exercise.

Having just started school, i know how hard it is to focus on an idea, so i'm definitely not trying to say it's easy.

For me, sculptural work in clay first leads me to question why the clay still remains the central medium of the work. your surfaces, particularly with the wall tiles, is really glass like. Thye remind me of fused glass tiles form opaque glass (but maybe that's the photo/computer visual). aside from the softness of the material, the clay is hardly apparent. also, not being familiar with your past work, i wonder if you have worked even more abstracted. i was really intrigued by the readings given by megan and mel of the 'landscapes' and i wonder what would happen if it got even further from food references.

all the best, and again, welcome...

critial ceramics said...

to often i am the last to comment, but i really had to take mutiple looks at your work

critial ceramics said...

looking without reading was no problem for me, its like the new studio potter mag, i look at all the photos then read the articles. the long hanging strands, which appeared as pockects. look fimilar or similar to someone elses work or something i have seen before. but they are also very intriguing to me. i really love the dark shadow they make hanging on the white wall. it is hard to tell but i think they are matt/dry on the outside which really makes me want to run my hands around them. i am not sure someone looking at your work(who is not fimilar with clay) would know that they are made of porcln and would read sweet delicacy. but iam thinking that the strands and sheets are very thin and would give me that same feeling.

critial ceramics said...

i am having a really hard time with the second tile, i just don't find it nearly as interesting as the others. the repeated squares, the repeated cup form and the shards orqanzined in the corner, i find a little boring just not the energy, fun and light heartedness of the others. i think it has a very specific meaning for you but its unclear for me.

critial ceramics said...

i love the last(first)tile! the colors are great, the movement, the different and varitey of shapes. love it. i think the black background is really successful. ok read the statement, of course food references! i also love making the same object over and over alittle different. you lost me on the consumption and sexuality i don't see it represented. i felt a little out of my element on these, but really tried to comment with my gut response, your statement is really helpful when looking at your work on the next level( beyound intial gut response) moniCa

ruth said...

I have looked and looked at your pieces. When first observing them I decided that they were abstract landscapes. I did not see the reference of food which seems to be so apparent to everyone else. The hanging strands with the dramatic shadow were the most food like to me and also my favorite piece. They seemed to be a bunch of fortune cookies which is a interesting idea. Because you have put so much work in making all these small pieces it really makes one look closely and for a long time at your work. It would be fun to make clay pasta because there are so many strange shapes out there.

It is very ironic making food like forms out of the material that is usually used to make what its served on.

sorry it has taken me so long to comment.