Reflections Retrospective 1992

Posted by Diane Sullivan on

Halifax, 1992. For the next few years I explore the idea that decoration is a language and language defines who we are. I go about deconstructing and constructing the vessel (as metaphor for the human form) by physically building it out of the decorative goddess motifs. The next few bodies of work all work from this premise: that language defines our selves.

These pictures were from an exhibition called Pillar to Pots. Over the course of 7 days a large pillar transforms in to three Fraggle Rock looking vessels. Large rings of carved clay stack in to the pillar and re-stacked create the vessel forms. I created the rings in between two large wagon wheel plaster moulds I made that were notched somewhat like a gear, so they could be stacked any way. Clay was free in undergrad although we did have to mix it up and pug it ourselves. There's a theory about finding the scale of your creative expression; during these years it was liberating to work on such a large scale, it engaged all of me. I loved it.

A lot of the theoretical jargon I was exploring actually came from my first degree which was a combined honours in film and history at Carleton in Ottawa in the early '80s. That's where all the feminist theory came from, the deconstruction of language etc. The final series of work I made in Halifax were more vessels in silhouette. This was a direct influence of the smaller pottery being made at NSCAD (the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax) at the time; puff pots. Silhouettes of vessel shapes. Mine are just oversized, built again on large plaster moulds for the shapes, this time stacked over a rod of plumbers pipe so you could actually move the pieces around and build different combination of foot, body and neck with handles. 


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