Often a discrepancy exists between how we see ourselves and how we would like others to see us. It is this discrepancy that my work examines. I am interested in how personality construction can cause a rift (alteration) in truths between people and how those altercations can shape a history. Each subtle incongruity can lead to completely different versions of truths passed on to others. It is my wish to better recognize these inconsistencies in order to more deeply investigate my own understanding of my past and my personal version of history.
I have always struggled to navigate the incongruity between pride in my rural heritage and the need to distance myself from its undesirable aspects. In my effort to better understand the “soup” in which I was stewed, I have begun to incorporate materials and processes I associate with poor, rural living. Mending clothes and constructing dwellings were two crafts handed down to me through my parents and grandparents. I have come to see the use of these processes and materials as symbolic of the feminine and masculine aspects of my upbringing. The clay has come to symbolize myself within the trifecta. I believe that using the components of my rearing is the most effective way for me to question the cultural and religious education of my childhood as well as to examine how I see myself in relation to my past.
— Richard W. James
Richard W. James received his B.F.A. from The University of Tennessee, Martin in 2001. He was a special student at Indiana University in 2012 and received his M.F.A. from The University of Kansas in 2016. He writes for various ceramic publications and has been an A.I.R. in Jingdezhen, China. He is currently a long-term resident at Arrowmont.