Artist Statement

Diving In, Swimming Down

The title of this installation is based on the phrase “If you’re going to dive into the pool, you should touch the bottom.” My intention with the creation of this piece is to begin my deep dive into an exploration of what ceramic material can be. This is an immersive installation- when viewers enter the space, they should experience a profound feeling of singularity and, simultaneously, a crowding. This piece was initially conceived in a depressive swing and using the tedious creation for 500 terra cotta spheres, I explored the relationship between clay and human life.

 

Ceramic material is one of the clearest ties we have back to ancient peoples. Everyone around the world has been using clay to create tools and art since the beginning of life on this planet. My terra cotta spheres emulate the vessel while being entirely useless. This is both keeping with ceramic tradition and departing from it. I have cast all of my spheres using plaster molds, which I allowed to get messy and morph throughout the constant creation. In doing so, the spheres have not come out of their molds looking identical, as they would normally. This is a departure from what is expected of the material.

 

In departing from these traditions, I have allowed the material to do as it wishes, which is to flow and drip and spread. The slip that is drying on these individual spheres ties them together. It is the material that they used to be, but as it dries, it shrinks and cracks away. This is the new birth of the material and the new birth of the relationship between humans and clay and, truly, all things which are intended to fit a mold. When the viewer steps away from the installation, it is with new insight into what they can be, what art can be, and what our relationships as human beings can be.

 

Thanks:

This piece is dedicated to all of the powerful women in my life who have guided me and will continue to be an ever-flowing stream of support and creation.

 

Special thanks are given to Gina Caruso, an alumna, and patron of the arts.

 

Thank you, Susannah, for seeing something in me and my work and for always pushing me. I could not have done this without you, nor would I want to.

 

Thank you, Mama and Papa. I promise to build you a house.  

 

-Sophia Plant

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