Mindy Horn

Artist Statement

I am a ceramic artist who makes porcelain sculptures. My work is about what it means to grow. I think that a life, an idea, and a work of art all begin with a kind of perfection, an untested plan of what they are meant to be. As each is nurtured and buffeted by challenges beyond their control – natural phenomenon, ideas and time – each must transform in order to live. It seems that all things become richer in history when the blueprint is altered. Layers of meaning, complexity and ambiguity develop. The perfect is transformed into a finer imperfect.

I have been working on a series of wall pieces that I title Becoming Imperfect. This series began with a group of non-functional vessels that were thrown purposely off center. The extensive alteration of surface texture and the addition of hand built elements resulted in vessels that spoke about time and how things grow beyond their beginnings. Porcelain is traditionally used as a clay material that embodies perfection. In my work, its strength and elasticity enables it to be used to create something different.

Over time, the hand built components on my vessels became more essential to me than the containers that held them. The wall pieces that have evolved are composed of hundreds of small bits of clay - balls, sticks, and various other porcelain elements, mounted to tailored clay tiles. After firing, the completed tiles are mounted to painted wood panels in irregular geometric patterns. The white/not white color of the porcelain has replaced the need for glaze.

Several themes appear often in my work, the most central being multiplicity. I use the same process to form a given design element from bits of clay, guided largely by muscle memory. Yet each new element comes out differently. In assembling a work, I seek the resonance created in the tension between the sameness of the multitude of components and the subtle but distinct variation between them. Though I celebrate the formation of each element, the patterns and rhythms created when the work is assembled embody the idea that the whole is much more than a sum of its parts. The work has grown to be something created by the combination of intention and chance. The patterns created by the design elements are beyond my control. My original plan has to surrender to what was created.

In these times of political and social upheaval, I hope that my work asks people to reflect upon how we have all been made. I want the viewer to examine what is common in all of us and celebrate the beauty and complexity of our differences.

-- Mindy Horn


I am a ceramic artist working in porcelain. My ceramics are in public and private collections. For many years I also worked as a paper conservator in New York and Connecticut. I was trained at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where I received my Masters degree in Art History and Conservation. My interest in ceramics and paper conservation relate to one another. Both disciplines require meticulous work, an appreciation of science and of technique, and the study and understanding of art. Porcelain and paper are kindred materials. Both are fragile, transformable and respond fundamentally to touch. With time, both materials physically record their own history.

— Mindy Horn