Naomi Cleary: New Work

Nov 2nd - Dec 2nd, 2007

I am re-doing, remaking, and recycling forms that exist already. I mark to them and put them back out into the world for others to experience. The objects I make are not simply recreations of their original models. I change these collected forms. I salvage them and give them a second chance to be fully realized, fully considered, a chance to become more than originally thought possible.

This reuse of form is in part what gives my work the feeling of having existed for a long time. My work does not feel new, as if someone just made it. The colored slip is cracked and peeling up in places looking like weathered paint or old Formica countertops. The surfaces of my dishes are almost decaying, at the edge of decay, ripe and set to burst. There is nothing disturbing about this decay. These things are not rotting. The weathered appearance of these objects speaks to the passage of time. It is an indicator of the cycle of life, like the change of the seasons and turning leaves in the fall.

My forms have become large serving vessels. Bowls, basins and platters that give me the room I need to explore form and surface, sectional trays have edges frill upwards and outwards extending them into space, over-sized basins could bathe a small child or hold a seasons worth of tomatoes. These dishes are canvases for my decoration. They are different on each side and must be viewed from many angles to be understood, picked up and turned-over in order to be fully realized. They are elusive in their revelation of meaning, almost unknowable as they change with every turn.

Dishes hold the potential for human connection through their tactile nature. We all have associations and memories connected to dishes. We look at dishes and can easily imagine using them. They live in our physical space, in our kitchen cabinets, are used every day. They have a relationship to our bodies. We pick them up and even touch them to our mouths. Dishes speak of history and lineage, passed down from mother to daughter. They are connected to family dinners, celebrations and sharing. They are a reminder of the warmth and comfort found in domestic spaces.

The idea of reusing and remaking forms that have history is central to my work. I am breathing new life into old and forgotten forms in order to carry them form forward into this present day. These objects of the past, given new form now will extend into the future.

Naomi Cleary