Gabrielle Grace Graber

Artist Statement

There is a difference when I am looking at you / talking to you if the printed silk is between us. When it is between us, I can still hear you, see you, I know you are here with me, but there is a distance to you. This softness is almost like being in a fog or a daydream. You are there but not fully because between us is a barrier, a dividing of two. I can press my hand up against this textile and make direct contact with what is on the other side. But I cannot touch you in the same way; I cannot be sure of your skin.
Tactile perception is muted. If you had goose bumps, or your hair was standing on edge I would not be able to feel it. I would barely be able to see it.

My practice is an ongoing investigation of being a body in the world. Layers of experience and interactions collide into material form. The figure invites me to reconcile perceptions and thoughts. The gap between my body and the figure is a window or an opening. My subconscious offers me things about myself, and I am aware of my body: the circumference of my wrist, how my leg muscles squeeze. Even when I’m making work about other people and their stories, my body is involved. I hear conversations, sometimes more than once, and put fragments together. I take experiences and retell them. There are still whispers of the figure.

I make the intangible; my forms offer memories that change with each passing moment. They move farther from my reach and so I dig, scrape, and grasp toward them through the clay. I grab the material—a fistful at a time. I pull, push, smack it around with my forearms and elbows. Violence and aggression are layered into the clay, packing it on top of itself. It embodies my loss and solidifies it in the material.

The inner reality is a place where things are mostly pictorial and non-linear, floating, transparent, overlapping and/or fragments from the past, and sometimes in the realm of myth. However, when thinking about the physical world, it is something that is directly in front of us. It can be described in words, and engaged with the body.

The language of ceramics offers a framework for my experiences, being both plastic and distinct. Through ceramics and printed textile, I am investigating the world around me in the hopes that the transparency of one part will help verify the density of the other.

-- Gabrielle Grace Graber


Gabrielle Grace Graber is a figurative sculptor and installation artist from the United States. She received her BFA at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and her MFA at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She was the recipient of a Windgate Fellowship Award that allowed her to travel to various national and international art centers, participate in ceramic and textile workshops, and be a resident artist in Vallauris, France. She has shown in exhibitions nationally and internationally. Gabrielle is currently living in North Carolina as a resident artist at Pocosin Arts.