A blank wall always seems so daunting. As an artist, we are expected to fill the blank spots with our marks and our thoughts. Who is listening? Who is hearing it? Who is seeing it? I’m curious to know how our marks relate to our body. By using the hand, is it more connected to the maker? I think so. It feels more direct, but less precise.

Why clay… This question comes up a lot… Because of the body. It seems cliche, but that’s the reason. It keeps me closer to the Earth in a way. More grounded… (haha, yes. Pun intended). I’m closer to the ground and in more direct communication with my own body, and that is more comforting than I realize.

Is it because I spend most of my time indoors because it’s painfully cold outside? Probably… but it also reminds me of yoga and meditation practices. Focusing less on doing something specific and more on how the senses are reacting. In this case I feel the dirt on my hands and can hear the *bloop* of the clay dropping on the floor. It’s very distinct and peaceful in the silence of my studio.

Marks.

There are marks on the wall because of my own hand. And each time the clay *bloops* I see the marks I’m leaving on the ground. Another remnant of me? Or an accident? Or both…? What does it mean to intentionally make a mark that is unexpected. That’s how the floor in this experiment feels. Unexpected despite me knowing it will be there because the slip drips as you work with it. Especially because you’re not really being that careful…

What does it mean to leave marks?

More specifically, what does it mean to leave these marks? With this clay and this shape. It’s reminiscent of a wood grain. Again, the Earth. I can’t help but think about the fact that it is a terra cotta clay. It reminds me of visiting family in India, but also of the clay pots that were everywhere in Quito and Dubai. It is familiar. Comforting, almost. But then again saddening.

As I’m getting older I find my memories of old homes fading. Only some things feel familiar now. Others feel distant, like an old dream I can’t quite remember. The clay resembles that. It cracks and fades as it dries and it is no longer what it used to be. Decaying and transforming as time goes by. I want my work to resemble that. The transformation of time and how memories and experiences get re-contextualized over those periods.

Ideas about culture and family and belief are at the forefront of my mind. As I work through this experimentation with flow, I am reminded of the things that I am drawn to: movement, dance, meditation, yoga, culture, debate, learning. This experiment is by no means “complete,” but what could it evolve into? How can I include an avenue for discussion into what I am making. More importantly, discussion about what…? Maybe culture. Maybe religion. Maybe decay. Maybe memory. Maybe movement. Maybe all of it?

What are your thoughts on mark making and the body?

1 Comment

  1. Clay, whether in form of a lump or a ball has the potential to physically change by just sitting there, and dry out. or with the help of an outside source, such a as human being, can evolve into thousands of forms.
    As in your case by letting the pieces of clay drop to the floor ” bloops ” you are creating something. While the clay is in your hand you are squeezing and forming the piece and the clay drops to the floor. the bloop then has a certain shape. And that shape no matter the size has a unique form that was created by you.
    And, as you say, this could be accidental, maybe, Or you could be using your subconscious in handling the “bloop” of clay and expressing what is uniquely you
    We are all show an identity in very small but interesting ways.
    Yes an artist wants to fill a blank wall or canvas.
    The artist Jackson Pollack , in his own way did just that. The only thing that made sense to him is what he laid out with splashes of paint. But it wasn’t randomly done ,as you visualize his work the viewer can feel a certain rhythm or pattern. He place those drips in the exact location where he wanted them. I’m not sure but if you look at one small square of his painting, you could see the pattern of his entire composition! Check it out for yourself and see if this is true. I think the painting is titled # 1.
    I hope what I’m saying makes sense and I hope I don’t sound confusing. Anyway it was a pleasure chatting with you in Starbucks on Michigan Ave in the afternoon. Like to talk some more. Right now I’ll look at your work. All the best. John Victor.
    Below is my E Mail.

    Like

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