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Copyright © Steven Dark .  2016  .  All rights reserved.

FROM THE artist

Although I am well–versed in the conceptual aspects of sculptural clay I have always considered myself to be primarily a vessel maker. I am unashamedly interested in and influenced by the long and diverse history of ceramics and pottery making. Classical utilitarian vessels in clay have always intrigued and inspired me. The most recent phase of my work is primarily concerned with the aesthetics of the lower Appalachian folk jug potters and my own idiosyncratic narrative impulse.

I use the classic forms of the whimsical face and chicken jugs as a springboard – I then modify them to express my own offbeat sense of humor and curiosity toward the medium and subject matter. No matter what the narrative, it is always my intention to convey a folksy style of personal revelation or reflection.

Personally the most exciting aspect of being a ceramist is the exploration of process. As a young artist, I was instantly seduced by the power of the potters wheel and have been ever since. I tend to work on a series of 6 to 8 pieces at a time, throwing on the wheel the primary forms and decorative parts. When the clay is at just the right stage of dryness I begin the assembly process. To the hollow sculptural form I attach the finer details, cutting, pushing and pulling; adding slabs, coils, and pulled handles until the desired final product is achieved.

Regarding the decorative details of the figures, I deliberately aim for a sharp contrast between the eyes and teeth of porcelain and the buff color of the stoneware. The hats and costumes instill a sense of individual personality to each figure. I explore a broad range of human emotions in my expressive search for quirky individuality. I aspire to build a psychological bridge between the viewer and myself by playing the provocateur.

Steven Dark