One of My Kind Series Artist Statement
Growing up in Northern Georgia, I find beauty in everything from the people to the surrounding environment. The wealth of variety in the inhabitants, the landscape, and the arts produced has influenced me in my own artistic and personal development. Through the years I have adopted ceramics as one of my main mediums. Ceramics allows me to have a have a real physically connection to what I am creating and what I am thinking.
Deciding how to represent a particular subject or theme is usually the hardest part of my work process. I spend a lot of time researching and preplanning a piece, just to hammer out exactly what I want to say. I work with stoneware clay, low fire glazes, and alternative finishing methods. I model the clay while it is a solid form, but because of the technical requirements of ceramics I go through numerous steps to reach the light weight and hollow final version. My work process is frustrating, time-consuming, and labor intensive; but highly rewarding when the completed artwork is unveiled.
This body of work focuses on aspects of the human condition that deals with our underlying psyche and the boundaries we create that separate us and animals. I express this through the combining of animal and human forms. I am concentrating on how the darker impulses of fear, anger, and despair and the influence of courage, love, and hope mingle and ultimately overcome those darker impulses. Specifically with the pairing of Love and Anger, I focused on the influence of my family and past events that have impacted me. The image of the elephant for Love is extremely important because it reflects the strong matriarch encouragement within my life, while the image of the baboon is used as a metaphor for my own internal anger. I have chosen a color palette of neutral hues to allow each piece to speak for itself and to create a cohesive conversation within the groupings. This work is a culmination of my interest in the human mind and my love of animals. I use these anthropomorphic sculptures to play with the awkward edge between what is human and what is animalistic. My subjects represent a psychological portrayal of not only myself, but our society. The result is a group of six figures that represent the internal struggles of what it means to be human.
One of My Kind is a body of work I have been planning for quite some time. The themes of fear, anger, despair, courage, love, and hope are ones that I have personal connections to. Researching and creating this show has helped to lead me to an understanding of not only myself but those around me as well.
Copyright: Mary Ledford
Senior Capstone Exhibitions, Fall 2012, human conditions, boundaries, humans, animals