I am a ceramics-based visual artist. My primary focus is how we each create meaning through material culture, and I use ceramics and pottery as an entry point to the home. In the domestic space, we use objects to tell stories about ourselves to others, and to reinforce values and identities to ourselves. Through the selection and arrangement of objects, we draw boundaries of comfort, inclusion and exclusion, power and control. Through daily interactions with objects on our table, in retail spaces, and on the screen, we attach meaning and status to the “stuff” around us. Drawing upon personal experience, I create large and small interventions to disrupt and question the flow of propriety in domestic spaces.
My work is emotional. It is aggressive, demanding, bitter, and sardonic, but also joyful, resilient, thoughtful, and funny. I juxtapose my understanding of craft and process with unusual, narrative, and sometimes highly personal illustrations and collages. My experiences of encountering gender, sexuality, class, urban/rural divisions, and art/craft distinctions influence my choice of form and surface manipulation. The seriousness of pottery studios, dining rooms, art galleries, and social taboos are frequent subjects of my dissatisfaction. Each intervention and audience requires a different kind of engagement, and I actively range from tightly controlled to highly gestural, and from sly to offensive.
With traditional materials and methods, I create work that highlights the social status of pottery and industrial tableware – the comfort and intimacy we are taught to expect when we open our cupboards. By organizing events and installations, I am able to show dishes in variations of their natural environments. Through this alteration of the familiar, I hope my work becomes more alive to the participants and brings new consideration for the design, production, and meaning of objects in their own homes and memories.
Dustin Yager is a ceramic artist whose work deals with popular perceptions of pottery, taste, class, and all that goes along with it. His work has been exhibited in Minneapolis, Chicago, and nationally, and he has given presentations about his work and academic research at Pecha Kucha Chicago, the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts, The Soap Factory, The American Craft Council, and elsewhere. Yager earned a Master of Arts degree in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and holds a BA from Carleton College. Yager was awarded a 2012 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant from Northern Clay Center. He is originally from Wyoming.