Ceramics and Installation Art

About Thomas Weber

Artist Statement 2011

The plasticity and spontaneity of clay make it my medium of choice. It allows me to start with a very loose concept while allowing the clay to dictate the final form. The malleability of clay complements my working pattern, which is to ponder and observe and then in a fit of inspiration work fast and spontaneously. The way clay responds to touch and gravity is important to me, and I find instances where pieces slump or become cock-eyed most interesting. The effects of gravity add a sense of weight, which boosts realism in a sculpture.

My figurative work is inspired by city life and the societal hierarchy found within a large modern city. I am interested in the way mankind has a need to create a structure into which all living things can be classified, more particularly the constant need to establish one's place in a societal hierarchy. My current work focuses on the marginalized parts of these social hierarchies, some of whom have chosen to be outcasts, others have no choice and are forced to be one. Exploring the stereotypes and restrictions put in place in order to construct such a hierarchy has dictated my surface decoration, utilizing drawn imagery on my forms and often pulling from street art and graffiti for color schemes and patterns.

In contrast to the spontaneity I enjoy in clay, I choose underglazes for my surface decorations because of their predictability and uniformity. James Tisdale is an inspiration to my glazing technique, utilizing multiple layers of washes and underglazes. Many of my pieces are also finished with a wash of black underglaze and then wiped away to add shading and accent certain details. I over-fire the underglazes to cone 02, allowing them to flow a little more, softening the edges, while still retaining all the color pigments.

The combination of human form with graffiti forms and surface decorations seems natural to me since life in a large city is heavily permeated by it. I was born in Switzerland where many cities are very old and graffiti is present everywhere. Seeing colorful graffiti wrapped around ancient architecture opened my eyes to the dichotomy between the two. The purposeful juxtaposition of an ancient media like ceramics to a modern art such as graffiti fascinates me, especially when a graffiti piece made of clay becomes much more permanent in comparison to its ephemeral counterpart.

To contact me, go to http://mommadood.com/contact .