Homage, memorial, and commemoration are common themes in my work. Working with clay is a way to preserve and document my existence. While the sculptures I make hold stoic, austere qualities, they capture an essence that celebrates and refers to the postindustrial landscape and blue-collar tones of my home. I arrange a variety of elements from my life experience including the building trades, architecture, machined objects, and ceramic art history, to name a few.
These sculptures consist of monolithic ceramic forms that are combined with found objects and repurposed material to act as monument and altar. The intended result of the monolith existing in the same composition as found objects serve both formal and conceptual devices to invoke questions while representing and celebrating elements of time and past. I hope that a level of ambiguity is provided through the interplay of the “real” and the “made”, creating echoes within the collaged elements of my sculpture, and creating a ghostly human presence.
The physical arrangement and spatial relations between the elements in these sculptures are key. The desire to create these arrangements often comes to me while thinking through social dynamics, family experiences, and situations that I have lived through- using my experiences and the past to dictate or guide my choices. I have realized that most elements and choices in my work stems from my life experiences and memories. These memories could be as subtle as a perfect summer day trekking in the woods with friends or as profound as a tragic event. This exposes a personal and nostalgic aspect to my work. I use this personal nostalgia as a tool. I’m not too concerned if themes of nostalgia echoes with the viewer or not. If it does, I expect the viewer will adapt the embedded nostalgia to their own points of reference while trying to figure out where my inspiration lies, giving moments of pause and reflection.
All in all, creating these artworks is a way for me to subtly honor, cope and to make memorial. To commemorate pieces of my past. I am paying homage to the environment I grew up in; good bad or otherwise.
Born and raised in a small town in northwest Indiana, Joel Pisowicz began working with clay as a hobby when he was a teenager and eventually pursued a career in ceramics. After receiving a BFA from Indiana University in 2014 Joel built a studio and made a living as an independent studio artist in Porter, IN. With a focus in functional pottery, he showed his work at art festivals throughout the Midwest and mid-south until 2019 when he relocated his practice to Bloomington, Indiana to pursue an MFA in ceramics.