The desire that one has to create has connected makers with people, places, and even time. I seek to understand my own creative connection to the vast expanse of human history. This makes me concerned not only with the formal qualities of art but also the nonverbal communication between the individual and the art they are experiencing. Through my artwork, I question how this communication operates, and consider both its limitations and advantages.
The time and place in which we all live is filled with endless commodified objects. It is with a sense of heaviness that I consider the quantity of things surrounding us. But I believe there is value in the handmade, crafted, and cared-for object; this value is not just merely commercial, but intrinsic. The act of making is a way of relating to all those who have made before – to see the new through the eyes and also the hand. The medium of clay can capture the imprint of other materials and hold the immediacy in which it was acted upon. As the primary tool throughout human history, the hand is essential. Hands capture an experience, a moment of action upon a material that leaves behind a unique trace of how one makes. I can only depict its importance by using my imprint selectively and by contrasting it with other materials and methods of construction. Through this contrasting, I have crafted new forms of imprint, such as in my recent artwork using rocks and handcrafted tools.
With the body of sculptures “Seeing Through Feeling,” I selected sculptures from the British Museum that have never been on display to the public. Using 3D scans that were accessible on the internet, I stretched and pulled the files until they were no longer recognizable from their original state. These were then recreated by hand, each with a specific clay-body and left unglazed.
I am interested in how art objects are repeatedly re-contextualized by individuals throughout time. It is often not the object that changes, but the ideas society applies to it. This creates multiple histories that intertwine when experiencing any art. I am concerned with creating connections between the artworks, the space, and the viewer; and how all of this is summed up in a complete experience.
-- Chris M Rodgers
Chris M Rodgers, a native of Charleston, WV, received his BA from West Virginia State University. He spent several years teaching English in Beijing, China. After completing a post-baccalaureate from Kansas State University he studied at Tainan National University of the Arts in Tainan, Taiwan. He recently completed his MFA at the University of Arkansas in the spring of 2019. Rodgers most recently spent time at several artist residencies including c.r.e.t.a. Rome, Rome, Italy; Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Maine; Ox-Bow School of Art, Michigan; and Casa Lü Tlaplan, Mexico City, Mexico.