My fascination with pottery is rooted in a non-Cartesian belief in the power and agency of objects. Objects have the ability to transcend the intent of both maker and user, and handmade pottery is a quintessential form with which to capitalize on this potential.
Borders between objects and symbols are porous, if not non-existent, and I seek out living systems which investigate and illuminate the object/symbol interface. I utilize participant-observation in research and favor experience over objectification, as advocated by the concept of “Primalism,” coined by art historian Robert Farris Thompson: “…primalism lets us measure just how far we've traveled -- how far we've been pulled forward -- from the devouring primitivism of the past.” Robert Farris Thompson, Art in America, July 1997.
I have studied belief systems as varied as Freemasonry, Gnosticism, the Hermetic Tradition, and Aghori Hinduism, and am especially inspired by West African and African-Diaspora religious-cultural practices. I have a continuing research project studying the making and use of ritual pottery of the Ewe in the Volta Region of Ghana. The current body of work is a direct product of a year spent in West Africa studying the making and use of ritual ceramics.
I also collaborate with religious practitioners to make work suited for their unique needs. A separate body of installation work establishes authentic settings for ritual pottery.