Deighton Abrams

Artist Statement

My sculptural works use abstracted landscape as a metaphor for human psychology and link them to contemporary concerns of climate change. My personal experiences and psychology are embedded in the manipulation of the ceramic components but allow for varying interpretations through the forms’ ambiguity. The work does not seek to be didactic but experiential, taking into account the viewer’s interaction within the space to draw links between the sculptures.

Using materials such as porcelain, plastic, and lumber creates a dualism both formal and conceptual. Porcelain and petroleum are both made naturally in the environment over long periods of time, the former is mined from the tops of mountains and the latter culled from deep within the Earth. Both materials are made permanent through human intervention and their combination throughout the works questions the hierarchy associated with them and the potential paradox of their use.

The work also references various aspects of the sublime, framing them in a contemporary lens in response to the grandeur and fear of a collapsing environment. The mountain and glacial forms in the exhibition reference the definitions of the sublime used by Immanuel Kant to describe the abstract feelings of awe and fear in the face of vast landscapes.

These notions of the sublime act as the emotive entry point to connect the psychological and ecological components of the work together. The goal of the work is to focus on the present state of the environment and my own emotional attachment to it while keeping a close eye on the history of the materials used and the future fluctuations of the landscape as a result of these interventions.

-- Deighton Abrams


Deighton Abrams received his MFA in Ceramics from Clemson University, South Carolina and his BFA from Armstrong University in Savannah, Georgia. He was raised in the Far North of Alaska but spent an equal amount of time in the Deep South of Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina. While a student at Clemson he was awarded a number of grants including the Clemson Art Department Scholarship for study in Jingdezhen, China and the Professional Enrichment Grant for artist research in Iceland. He has used these experiences spent in varied landscapes to inform work that focuses mainly on the tenuous balance between human and landscape. Utilizing abstracted geologic and glacial forms, Deighton creates complex narratives about the human psyche and its impact on the surrounding landscape. He has taught a number of ceramics courses as a graduate teacher of record as well as ceramic classes for both children and adults at The Arts Center Clemson, South Carolina and Gallery S.P.A.C.E. in Savannah, Georgia. He is currently a short term resident artist at STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, North Carolina. He likes cats, a lot.