Jennifer Martin

Artist Statement

On one’s physical body we know that scars and imperfections mark moments in our lives, working as visual reminders of our own history. I am interested in celebrating human experience through my work, while embracing both the positive and negative memories it may reveal.

I seek to honor ceramic tradition without being inhibited by its vast history. I explore the sensual nature of clay as reflected through physical touch. Using similar tools and processes to that of a traditional potter, I look not towards the ideal symmetrical vessel but instead towards asymmetry. My work often acts as a metaphor for the physical body, and I consider function secondary to fluidity and gesture in the form. While the marks on the surface of the pots record the history of my hand in its creation, these same marks symbolize an individual’s experience. Like the rings seen in the cross-section of a tree, these marks provide a history of growth. In a similar manner, I use the repetitive lines and patterns in my work to create a vocabulary able to describe gender, memory, a personal journey or simply one’s personality make-up.

Both the scale of the work and the way it is grouped is of utmost importance to me. I seek to elevate the ceramic vessel from simply a utilitarian object to that of something that explores memory, relationships, and personal history. I do this by creating various scenarios in which to view each piece. The way two forms reflect each other’s profiles, such as a grid-work of cups both similar in form but distinct when viewed together, or large-scale forms created from actual body measurements, provide a variety of experiences to explore the same body of work and find one’s own individual narrative. In a final homage to the human body, I use traditional glazes in order to maintain a flesh-like aspect to the clay.

-- Jennifer Martin