Kevin Snipes: New Work 2008

Nov 7th - Nov 30th, 2008

Artist Statement

I am continuously fascinated by the concept of duality. Duality of course, refers to two things which are intrinsically bound together, made of the same stuff. Yet those things are also inherently in opposition with each other. This is nothing new. Such things as lightness and darkness, day and night, can only exist by acknowledgement of their oppositions and duality. But what I find most interesting is the way that we define one side of the duality is by describing what it is not. In other words, we can only know a thing by defining its opposite. How is it possible to describe what lightness is, for instance, without referring to the concept of darkness, or to describe what rigidity is without describing softness? These thoughts are my starting point in the act of creating.

There are many types of dualities in my work. Look closely and you will find, not just the obvious binaries of male and female drawings on opposing sides of my clay vessels, but also subtler means of communicating my fascination with this two folded view of life. It is my goal that by creating multiple layers of dualities I can develop provocative narratives in each piece.

I often use written text in the form of cartoon-like word bubbles, or notation-like scribbling to give the viewer clues into the unfolding stories. People I know become quirky child like representations of themselves, and fodder for true or completely bogus tales. I like to think of my work as “sweet and spicy”, not too much of either, with a good dash of humor. There is an uncertain sense of edginess or mystery that offers the viewer just enough information, so that they can extrapolate his or her own stories.

As an artist, and as a member of a historically marginalized group, I find that I tend toward non-tribalism. Rather than creating art that speaks of love or victimization of African Americans, I speak of the problems underlying the recognition of difference. I work on a personal, intimate level that encourages an almost private investigation of the objects that I make. This act of confrontation that encourages only a single viewer with a single object sets up a dialog, in the nature of subject-to-object relationships and becomes a metaphor for the concept of otherness.

Kevin Snipes