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Craig Clifford


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Statement

I am interested in where high and low culture intersect, how the objects that I make become image-like and how those images carry meaning. My work is an exercise in the transformation of the mundane.  As well, it is an investigation into how context, expectation and gaze affect our experience with the objects and images that perhaps go unnoticed and yet surround us throughout the day.

Ultimately my finished ceramic pieces are made from the assemblage of hundreds of slip cast kitsch or low art memorabilia found in commercially produced molds made for the weekend handy-crafter market.  I am very interested in building a visual density that confuses the eye and detracts from the original intention of the individual objects. I cut, graft, arrange and rearrange forms that start as one thing and become something quite different by the time I am finished.  I will generally work until what I am making is only distantly related to it’s origins in things that we know. 

I am often attracted to commercial molds with subject matter in one form or another that is trite or sentimental, clichéd or simply a crass novelty item.  I find that there in lies the biggest challenge in re-contextualizing all of this common if not almost irrelevant information and moving it from recognizable to the sublime.  

I am particularly interested in ceramic color for it ability to flow over a form in a way that runs thin over high ridges and pools in recessions to enhance the dimensionality of the objects that I make.  As well I am intrigued by the color saturation attainable with ceramic materials and always with the slightly unpredictable transformation that occurs with heat, atmosphere and colors derived from metallic oxide in glass.

I work with assemblage and transformation, using the common language of material culture to create works that recontextualize the familiar. I render forms that are loaded with information and allowing them to become, I would hope, a great deal more mysterious and curious than they would otherwise be on their own. 

http://www.craigcliffordart.com/www.craigcliffordceramics.com/index.html

james may gallery© 2017