ASHLEY PEGRAM

CERAMIC SCULPTURES

Artist Statement

Clay is my medium of choice because of its malleability, forgiveness, and physical properties. Most of my work is built using a type of slab and coil construction. I am trying to capture the softness of clay while still suggesting strength. My forms are organic and abstracted and many suggest the human figure. I am mostly concerned with suggesting the human torso, the center of life. Since childhood, it has been drilled into my mind, “without a strong torso your body is weak.”

I tend to present my body of work in some type of grouping. There are many symbolic depictions depending on the amount of work presented together, an example is the grouping of three. Three can depict images and emotions relating to Father, Son, Holy Spirit; mind, body, spirit; head, torso, legs. The symbolism of different groups and numbers is something I am starting to become interested in investigating further. A group of pieces that work together cohesively provide the viewer with a space to interact with more then one object. At the same time, stand a lone pieces can evoke a stronger type of presence and power to the viewer.

Each form is covered with varying textures that move throughout the piece. The textures found on my pieces are an important part of the form because they add and subtract another layer of clay achieving depth. The texture leads the viewer around and through the forms. On some of the forms, I have started adding different types of metal in conjunction with different surface treatments to create another layer of added texture. The various matte glazes and stains throughout the pieces provide the different surface treatments with contrast. If the entire form were covered in the same color, some of the texture would be lost. Also, if the forms were covered in a high sheen glaze the sheen would overpower the texture.

It is important to keep the texture visible to show where I have put my markings in the clay while the clay was still soft. Before the clay is fired, during its raw form, clay is an organic and flexible material to work with. While working on the forms, a lot of personal reflection and conversations occur. Each marking is hand created and represents a different part of the conversation being held. While working in groups, an entire conversation can be seen leading to each piece and the conversation is not over until the last piece is completed.

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