Joanie Turbek: Minor Malfunction

Nov 6th - Nov 29th, 2009

Joanie Turbek, currently a Resident Artist at The Clay Studio, received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from Alfred University. She also serves as The Clay Studio's Education Coordinator.

Turbek is a sculptor, installation, and performance artist and a maker of objects. She describes her work as “pieces that function both as sculpture as well as props for social interaction. The viewer must perform with the piece in order to use it. Through lowbrow materials and simple, transparent mechanics I encourage the viewer to approach the work with the same candor that they might approach exercise equipment.” Turbek’s background in functional ceramics “has taught me the value of this personal, unassuming relationship. That there is truth and honesty to objects we can approach and understand in a physical way”.

Turbek’s process begins with invention, “each piece is an attempt to fulfill a personal and specific human need. Efficiency is not necessarily valuable when dealing with personal issues; therefore metaphor and humor dictate form. In our society, the products we own are a clear portrayal of who we are and what is important to us. I see my work as a form of portraiture, both of myself and of the communities into which it is inserted”.

The power of Turbek’s work lies in her ability to capture a moment in time and recreate an emotional experience or memory that is universally understood. Her pieces spark memories and experiences through sensory stimulation – be it touch and/or sound, or through purposefully selected objects.

Whether listening to her falling drops of “rain” or feeling the warmth of her “sun” while lying on her “lawn”, all that one needs to do is close their eyes to be transported to a different place in their own mind. Turbek’s ability to personalize each viewer's experience is incredibly special, powerful and unique.