Monday, December 21, 2009

Space Rocks: The Thesis Paper

Below is the thesis paper for my senior project, Space Rocks: A Look at Far-Out Minerals, which counts for half of the project. I thought it might be nice to share it with anyone who is interested in my thoughts on the work.

There is nothing more complex or more beautiful than our natural world. I use the elements from this world to tell a new story. My work invents cultures that speak foreign tongues, which have sprung from stars and rocks. Each time I begin a sculpture, I am writing a new mythology for my imaginary world. Greatly influenced by the ritualistic practices of native societies, I believe humans need to create gods and legends for themselves, and making art is my way of satisfying that need.

Two years ago, I took a trip to California and had the opportunity to drive down the coast of the Golden State. I was overtaken with amazement and appreciation for the landscape around me. Immediately, personal myths began forming in my mind. The mountains and hills were living creatures, whose enormous faces would slowly emerge from the brush to watch over the world. This was the first time I was so inspired by the sculptural elements of nature, and it has deeply influenced my work ever since.

Mythology and story-telling are an important part of making art. After my visit to California, I returned to the studio to make the images of these creature mountains that had so deeply struck me. During this time, I began reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, in which he connects mythology to personal spirituality and to our modern world. My work entitled Watchers, four ceramic animal-mountains perched upon individual shelves, each with a shadowy root below them, was the result of diving headfirst into an imagined spirituality that only I was privy to. Watchers are the gods of heaven and Earth, connected to the sky and ground, looking over all of us, protecting us. This work was meant to be shared, but its meaning was obvious only to me. I bared my spirituality to whoever was willing to view and asked for nothing in return.