I remember vividly the first time I stomped through a perfectly formed sheet of ice, obliterating its crystalline structure. Sadness and exaltation bubbled within me simultaneously as I stood, ankle deep, in freezing water and watched the thin remnants disappear below. I had crossed a line, a mobile and intangible line.
That fine line that exists between the desire to preserve and the need to re-imagine, re-configure and re-contextualize is still a driving force in my studio practice. The daily interplay between past and present, imagination and memory, and our physical and intellectual relationship to landscape serve as reference points for my sculptures and for my dreams.
My work is based in my need to better understand sense of place and our relationships to the objects, landscapes and histories that surround us. I see each sculpture and installation as a way to advocate for a direct and tactile relationship with the world. Through the use of representational objects (daisies, cattails, locks, chains etc.) that are culled from my environment and remade in clay, I work to create symbolic relationships between these seemingly disparate elements. When objects’ material differences and functionality are negated, these elements take on new meanings and create new possibilities for evaluation and interpretation.
An exploration of touch and intuitive making is deeply embedded in my studio practice and in the community-based projects that I do. I believe that a simple interaction between hand and material can be unifying, transformative, and impactful.
Clay serves as palimpsest in my practice; I seek its inherent variations in surface and texture, its ability to mimic, to be thick, thin, ephemeral or permanent. I seek to exploit the material’s innate relationship to land, human history, time and transformation. The physical recordings that come through rolling, tearing, squishing, dipping, pushing, pinching and scratching become representations of touch, of thought, of time spent.
— Casey Whittier
Casey Whittier received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her work investigates the fine line between the need to preserve and the need to re-imagine, re-configure and re-contextualize the world around her. Utilizing a variety of forming methods, Whittier recreates elements from nature, unites the landscapes of her reality with the landscapes of daydreams, exploits the visceral qualities of clay, and ponders the power of shared experience. The physical impressions that come through rolling, tearing, squishing, dipping, pushing, pinching, molding, casting, and scratching become representations of touch, of thought, of time spent.
Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States. She is an advocate for community engagement through the arts and has been awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant and Artist INC grant for her ongoing Palm Petals project. Whittier currently teaches ceramics and social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute and works from her home studio.