5.29.2012

C L A R I T Y : a new series on the way

A beautiful word, C L A R I T Y. We artists plod along year after year searching for clarity in our work: the meaning behind it and what defines our art in particular. We all have to go through that soul searching process, which is never fun but a necessary part of our job. 

Not sure if who's studio this is (anyone know?) but just look
at all the exploration going on here! UPDATE: The studio is Ree Morton's. Thanks SID!
Stumbling upon the idea for the foreclosure quilts was so wonderful for me. In the back of my head though, I was always thinking ... what's next? How on earth can I do another series that will live up to the meaning and poignancy I managed to create with those quilts? And what about that medium? Am I a fiber artist or a conceptual artist? If I'm a conceptual artist, it frees me up to pick and chose any medium that the work dictates it should be. After much deliberation I can say now that I'm a conceptual artist and I am free to use whatever medium is right for the work. Whew! It was hard to come around to that.

Saved Shreds, 2011.
So what kind of conceptual artist am I? I know that land use and economics are crucial factors in my work. And I know that global land grabbing and industrial agriculture is where all of my passion is focused right now.

Limbang Borneo Oil Palm plantation. Yes, that's right, that's
forest clear cutting. All of the beige in the photo is terraced farmland.
The problem I had was how to bring these issues to light in my work using a medium that would grab you like the quilts did. I tried using fiber, I really did. But it just never clicked. And then I had an aha moment (don't you love those!). I had just told my mind to be open in influence and listen and wait and listen and wait. It took six months which seems like a blip now but certainly didn't when I was becoming frustrated waiting. You know how you look back on your work and see the solution was staring at you right in the face but you couldn't connect the dots? Seriously.

Connect the dots clay series, 2009.
And remember this post? Well, I'm ready for it now. Clay. Clay. Clay. What better way to hit people square in the face with food issues than at the table? I have grand dreams: installations, dinner parties, entire lines of table settings. It can't hurt to dream! I start my clay class next week and I'll keep you posted with all the messy and crazy progress. It will be a fun ride. And think of all those amazing artisans I have yet to feature in the medium. Keep your napkins on your lap!

21 comments:

k said...

glad you've found your way, or at least your start on that journey for this new series. looking forward to you playing with clay.

Flaming Nora said...

Oh my goodness. I've been looking forward to your next series since you first mentioned it. How exciting, and I may add very brave. I don't usually comment, but always read and find your quilts so inspiring and thought provoking. Thank you.

kitty kilian said...

Ha! Just an excuse to hang around Ray Dunn more ;-)

But seriously. What a great post, I am glad you are totally open and honest.

And may be.. just may be.. you can sneak in a few napkins and a tablecloth?

joanne said...

Sounds very exciting, I love clay too!! It's so wonderful to work with - can't wait to see your new work.

Chantal said...

Looking forward to seeing the results of your new adventure Kathryn!

Ellen Vesters said...

Kathryn, how wonderful to give us insight in your artistic process. Love this post!
The thing that immediately came to mind was: what about clay originating from the land the piece will be about?

samantha said...

I'm so glad you're going to work in clay - can't wait to see what you do with it. (That's also a dream of mine).

Lari Washburn said...

So exciting!!!! I think you should come to Maine and take a porcelain class with Ingrid Bathe and stay with me while you do it! I love working with her, and I love clay too. Soon I will be able to show my progress, but as you say it takes TIME. Time to develop what you want to do/say, time to develop a vocabulary, time to understand materials. But there is no other way, and the bottom line is we have to, so....go! And I am serious about that class idea.

kathrynclark said...

Wow, thanks so much for all the support going forward with this new idea. Yes, there are so many references to the earth and food working with this new medium. I love when it just falls together like a puzzle. @Kitty, of COURSE there will be 'place' mats and napkins, how could those not be a part of the setting?! :-) @Lari, oh my SO tempting about coming out for a visit. I will have to do some research, it would be an amazing experience to work with Ingrid and visit you! Thanks so much for the invite.

shipbuilding said...

What a beautiful post! The waiting, wondering and hoping for that moment is so, so hard but then the moment of realization is like nothing else. Dream big, it sounds amazing.

Sophie Truong said...

yeah! love clay and I'm sure you'll be great at it! I am going to take a workshop w/ Ingrid 1st week of July :), thank to Lari!

kathrynclark said...

@Sophie and Lari, that clay workshop sounds wonderful. Ingrid's work is stunning, so delicate and made with fired paper clay? cool. I wish I was free this summer, sigh!!!!

amyhrobinson said...

Amen.

Susan said...

Kathryn,
Half of the work is the waiting, like pregnancy, for instance. You just have to trust that it's coming toward you. This will be a beautiful series. Can't wait to see how it happens

kathrynclark said...

Ha @Susan, I just hope the labor isn't as painful as childbirth! Thanks, everyone :-)

claire said...

Wow Kathryn, thanks for sharing your process, clarity is such a beautiful place to be

Victoria said...

I am so happy that you haven't limited yourself to only one medium. You are an artist indeed, and must use whatever best communicates your message. I'm not surprised that you choose clay, another tactile medium. I am also strongly attracted to it and interestingly have in the last year often questioned whether or not I should take it up. Looking forward to seeing this work unfold from you... I have no doubt it will be another thought provoking series.

Margaret Cooter said...

On the matter of "what kind of artist am I" - another possibility is "multimedia artist" - sometimes fibre, sometimes clay, sometimes paint, even!

Katrina said...

i'm catching up backwards. VERY exciting that you are going to commit to clay for this next project. yes, new mediums and new risks. love it.

wholly jeanne said...

"Conceptual artist." I like it. Defines without restricting. You're familiar with Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, no doubt.

Ahmad Abdullah said...

This was a good suggestion that you put up here...dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 

REO Rockstar

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