Human Form and Content

Identity Series

These works are photographs of the same ceramic torso.  I fired it six times in ways that burned different patterns of grays and blacks into the surface.  In each firing, the previous firing’s surface burned off and was erased, and the next was created.  How it looked at each stage was captured, and only now exists, in these photographs by my collaborator Stuart Diekmeyer.

Looking back on the process, I think I was interested in identity.  The torso as I came to know it is shown in all of these pictures but fully captured in none of them.  Even its rigid form appears to change.  Its reality for me now is my internalization of its samenesses and differences — my experience with it over time — which is why I consider these six images to constitute one work, which I call WHO AM I.

Midway through this series, the torso started cracking from multiple heat shocks.  I worried that it would break up before I was done, until I realized that the piece itself had taken up my exploration.  We will all age and pass, even as we endure in those who have known us or been influenced by who we are.