The body sits beside the vessel, art sits beside craft, beauty sits beside the grotesque, my work sits between. Ambiguity asks the viewer to examine conventional, categorical ways of thinking.
Obsessive repetition creates form. Pinch after pinch, bead after bead. Volume, born from mass, offers breath. Repetition breaks with marks that grab and gash, offering vitality, aggressiveness and pleasure. Careful moments of touch and curvaceous vessel forms emanate a soft sensuality. Complexity and simplicity, subtle and strong, attraction and repulsion, present themselves as one. Gravity of form empathetically pulls our bodies into a close relation. Running glaze looks wet, mimicking water flow, an essential element for life. Beauty makes pulses rise, it makes us feel alive.
Being both body and vessel, the forms are tied to ceramic art history. There is fluidity in form and surface, as though the forms could continue to morph, from vessel to body and back again. With this transformation halted, the sculptures are left sitting between two states.
Brooke Armstrong is an emerging ceramic artist interested in how visual experiences affect us physically. ”Beauty makes us feel alive, it makes our pulses rise. Beauty pulls us into a reciprocal relationship with it. Like beauty, the grotesque also creates a physical body reaction. Pleasure and displeasure are not mutually exclusive, they exist in relationship to one another. Like art and craft, body and vessel and self and other, all things exist in reciprocity.” Her work embraces ambiguity and allows one to approach ideas of the unknown, and the other.Ceramic art history and process informs her practice. Whether coil building human sized vessels, or creating thousands of porcelain beads, Armstrong states, “The repetition created by the process of making is somewhat addictive and meditative. Focusing on the task at hand, repeating the same motion over and over, while being tactile and visual, alleviates anxieties. My work rejects efficiency as a mode for making and speaks to craft history’s relationship to labor, questioning our cultural value of time,”. Armstrong earned her MFA at the University of Montana. She has been a resident at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino ,California, The Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana, and participated in an international symposium in Zlakusa, Serbia. Armstrong was a Post-Baccalaureate at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and earned her BA in Communication and Political Science, with a minor in Studio Art, at the State University of New York in Potsdam, NY.