Thumbnail of UNTITLED Thumbnail of Bowl with Slits Thumbnail of Untitled (slip cast bowl) Thumbnail of Mimbres Thumbnail of Untitled (cone form) Thumbnail of Vessel

Steven Heinemann

Artist Statement

Much of my work over the years has evolved out of an early interest in pottery, particularly in "pottery space": interior, self-contained, a locus for the imagination. This ongoing preoccupation with container/containment has taken many guises, beginning with a lengthy exploration of the bowl form in my student years.

During the 1980s, I moved away from a recognizable vessel format, wanting to realize a stronger sculptural dimension in my work. The first series to reflect this was a group of geometric "imprints" dating from 1982-86. This was followed by a five-year investigation of more organic, elemental, volumetric shapes. Here, I was attempting to convey a sense of the emergence of form as it occurs each time an inchoate mass of clay begins to be shaped - with the primary act of making, and of the origins of form itself.

In my current work the vessel has re-emerged as the context for some of these concerns, along with more recent ones. In contrast to the earlier dismantling of the familiar limits of ceramic practice, its conventions of form and scale, the bowls signal a renewed interest in a more intimate framework; one whose power lies precisely in its limitations, in its familiarity, in its universality. In keeping with this emblem of "Craft", a heightened involvement with surface - and a growing regard for the language of pattern, motif and symbol - has occurred.

Why ceramics? I have come to recognize that clay, as an organic material with a long history of human use, can offer a substantial link to both the natural and cultural worlds, to historical as well as geological time. So to me, the physical facts of soft/hard, surface/form and inside/outside suggest diverse opportunities for considering relationships among the seemingly disparate. Connections emerge, linking human activity and natural processes, deliberation and chance, past and present, and what is seen with what is sensed.

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Copyright 2002feedbackcredits