Saturday, February 13, 2010

Textures that take me back

Something is so flesh-like about those tiny fragile pink blisters.
Up against the chalky whiteness...

When I first shot this platter in grad school at Utah State, the slides turned out with the gold crystals
looking very soft and pastel. It was only when I shot this here, under sunlight
with a Nikkor Micro/Macro lens that I was finally able to capture the image as I saw it.

Tonight my melancholic state has me looking over my old platters for inspiration. To go from being on the top of my game to the bottom of the bucket in the span of hours really spilled the wind from my sails. When the last platter was hung on the wall, my excitement was at its peak. A day later, I could have taken a hammer to every platter in the show. Somehow I didn't.

It was a wonderful show, don't get me wrong. We had a wonderful audience in attendance. Lots of great questions, comments etc. A week later, when I had my oral exams with my professors, the big question was "what next?" If they had asked me that before the show, I would have had great ambitious answers full of excitement and vigor. That day though, I was cornered. The glass around me was shattered and everything I had thought was coming now seemed laughable.

I seldom talk about my divorce mostly because after the last decade, it seems talked-out. Everytime I crack out images of these platters though, it all comes rushing back. I had such dreams! I was sure these platters would lift me far and away. Ironic considering these puppies are heavy as can be!

Initially I wrote my thesis in verse. My professor felt that this was completely inappropriate. For an MFA? Really? Who the hell else is going to be writing their thesis in verse if not an MFA candidate?? I wish I had kept some of those early drafts. Trying to write about the feelings of materials meeting, melting, moving from one state to the next. I remember one comment of his was that glazes didn't have feelings. I think that hurt me more than the beginnings of my divorce.

I don't know if I have it in me to go another round with this body of work. I would love to think so. I dream sometimes of taking them out for a grand exhibition. I fantasize about us having a monstrous kiln where we could fire new works; HUGE and fabulous! And then I remember taking these platters on the road to shows in Colorado, Utah and Washington State. Suffice to say, I was in great shape that summer after having lifted tons of platters all day every day.

At the end of the day, none sold. That's failure. Pure and simple.

1 comment:

jimgottuso said...

i don't know about the failure thing alex. i think i remember pics of some of these platters and i thought they were great. my inability to purchase work doesn't mean that the piece is no good. i've done the divorce thing too and i guess it depends on all sorts of things but as difficult and unsavory as the seemingly interminable process is, i was glad we did it when it was over with. i love the idea of writing your mfa thesis in verse... seems to me that that would be more difficult to do than merely writing it. i guess that's more a reflection on the professor than your idea. unfortunately for all the good professors, there are the bad too. i was in college for quite some time and ran into my share. i went to the university of montana to study with rudy autio and although he was there, the professor who dealt day to day with grad students told me the day i arrived at the studio that if i didn't take his performance classes every semester that i would not excel in their program... needless to say, i didn't take his class and i didn't excel in his eyes. seems in retrospect to be quite a hurdle to overcome some of the stupidity that a student may encounter. as a side note, that professor now raises sheep.