Normal Objects

Joanna Pike

Dec 2nd - Jan 15th, 2017

Joanna Pike, The Clay Studio’s 2016 Zeldin Fellow, creates work using recycled materials, including waste clay and product packaging repurposed as molds. Both functional and sculptural, these vessels form landscapes and architecture often directly related to environmental issues.

Born in Portland, ME, Joanna received her BFA in ceramics from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. After completing her degree she travelled to Medicine Hat, AB to attend Medalta as a full year resident

Normal Objects is a body of work about mundanity and the everyday. It examines scenes we typically pass by without much notice; the landscape and infrastructure that surround us. It elevates some of these and brings attention to other aspects that need critical consideration. Using familiar structures and natural vistas, still lives and lone objects blend together to exemplify a typical American scene. Nothing grandiose is represented, just regular beauty and ugliness.


Artist Statement:

“I create objects that deliver concept through functionality. Humans collect objects that are familiar and reinforce their identity on a subconscious level. I utilize this occurrence to deliver to the user an object that is conventional in its function and recognizable yet challenging in aesthetic. By using ceramic waste material such as clay and glaze from sink traps, mop buckets, and floor sweepings I am able to mold pieces that emulate the less savory aspects of our material culture such as strip mining and waste disposal. Molds are recovered from the trash or are by-products of my own material consumption. The result is a functional sculpture that quietly proposes a new way of living.”

Industry and material consumption also play a role with these pieces. These trends are portrayed as quaint and familiar, and expressed mainly through simple, domestic items. Logging, energy production, and other industrial activity that is vital to our lifestyle is portrayed in contrast to scenes of matter-of-fact living conditions as well as those of frivolous consumption. The scale of the objects is akin to train sets and collector’s models, giving a sense of pleasant escapism and a reprieve from the seemingly overwhelming troubles of the world

The themes of consumption, waste, and energy are explored through the use of reclaimed materials. Textiles are created with remnants from other projects. All ceramic objects are made with waste materials either donated or gathered from local studios. Plastics and paper are collected from the trash, recycling, or the streets of Philadelphia and are used as base molds to build larger forms and multiples."


About the Zeldin Fellowship:

Sybille Zeldin, a former Resident Artist at The Clay Studio, generously supports a year-long fellowship available to current or incoming Resident Artists with a stipend and special exhibition.