I built my first ceramic torsos in 2014. They are two oversized hand-built coiled figures exploring the concept of memory held within the body. The Body Memory Torsos were split to hide images of personal memories between the front and back sections. These memories are hidden from the viewer, until they make an effort to look between the sections to see the images. Carved texture and holes on the outer surface of the torso represent the lived experiences that may be embedded in our habitual body structure, or carried in our sinew and muscles. I painted layers of deep red glaze inside each form to represent vitality and life force.
My work evolved when I changed the process from hand coiling each sculpture to building a model that I cast in multiple plaster molds. Now each individual torso sculpture starts as a ceramic slip-cast blank form comprised of six separate columns.
Each ceramic torso is individualized through hand-painted glaze images and surface texture of layered ceramic slip. After texturing the outer surface, I carve holes into the clay to give the viewer superficial visual access within the body structure where red glaze is painted. Each sculpture has its own narrative artwork that conveys multilayered messages, starting with vulnerability of the oceans and our bodies, balanced with the dialectic message of the power of the oceans and the strength of our bodies. I research current events, Renaissance Women Master Artists, and my own images captured during beach walks. I choose to repaint (and modify) paintings from Renaissance Women Artists to bring their masterpieces to our awareness. I am constantly amazed that the issues/abuses they depicted in their artwork continue to be relevant in our contemporary times.
I am pulled by dichotomies of life, if I explore strength I also must reveal vulnerability or desire/aversion, extinction/restoration, etc. The struggle to reveal/hide is apparent in the sculpture’s design. The organic torso form contains hidden flat geometric surfaces within. I contrast red glossy glaze and gold luster details with matte oxide and underglaze hand-painted portrait narratives. Installing the torso’s six columns further apart allows the viewer to easily see the paintings on each of the torsos. When installed-just inches-apart, it is an effort for the viewer to see the imagery rendered on the columns' inner surfaces, creating a sensation bordering on voyeurism.