Mark Nathan Stafford

Artist Statement

WHITE MALE is a series of ceramic figures embodying my sense of my own white maleness and that of my four year old son.

The men are spiritual self portraits, conveying the imposition of my white maleness on the world. They are awkward, bloated, looming, threatening and uncertain, solemn and laughable, self-important and retiring, grounded and adrift, affable and oblivious. They are sympathetic, sensitive, well-meaning, obliging and obliged; they are sore and they are sorry.

The boys embody my love and hope for my son, but also my fear, my recognition of how his privileged position as a white male is shaping him and how it will continue to do so in ways beyond my control. I hope to convey something of the ambivalence I feel towards that privilege, the conflict between principles of social equity that I hold dear and the particular case of my son, wanting, what is best for him, and knowing that overwhelming privilege is not what’s best for him or for anyone.

-- Mark Nathan Stafford


Mark Nathan Stafford is a sculptor and digital artist whose work has appeared in numerous national and international exhibitions. His critical writing has appeared in Art Papers and Ceramics: Art and Perception. He lives in Naperville, IL and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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