My slab built forms are for the most part more planned, measured and intentional. Early on, years ago this work became the work through which I explore specific subject matter. Balance, the paradox of inside and outside, architectural structural references and materiality all serve as metaphors in this work. Ultimately, I am interested in the development of interiority on a continuum with exteriority. Equilibrium and balance appear where it seems none can be attained. My work primarily critiques traditions, broadly defined, where they impede the possibility of ongoing equanimity. I present equanimity as compositional balance.
Combining these two ways of working and thinking regularly becomes a means to expressing ideas neither can accomplish for me on their own. Even in combining the techniques a compromise is necessary and neither technique is fully realized but their fruition is found in their union. The piece Hypostasis is about union (p-briggsp01).
While the pinched vessels are ongoing work for which I regularly invent new techniques and forms, I engage fresh conceptual ideas through the slab building. Presently I’m working on a project called Cell Persona: The Impact of Incarceration on Black Lives. I will have a solo exhibition of this work in 2019 during the NCECA Conference. The first Persona forms I built (2017) dramatized personality with the spatial metaphor of the paradox of inside and outside. Cell Personas likewise uses space as a metaphor for characteristics of personality as it relates to environment. This sort of work is challenging to me personally. I did not use my ceramic work as a catharsis for these concerns until 2015. I was engaged in social justice in other ways and quieted myself with the pinching practice. Going forward I expect that I will continue to work in both slab and pinched form since it is the way I have expressed myself in clay over the years.
Next will focus my pinching attention on the challenge of pinching smaller flat-bottomed vertical vessels that tangentially draw their outer shape-form from flowering plants. Though the pinching has developed in its aesthetic content it remains a needed contemplative practice. The slab built work has, as stated above, brought me face to face with those parts of society that impact my life historically and personally and threaten my solemnity. Yet, the next slab pieces are about refuted space and asymmetrical balance. I will challenge my exploration of color, glaze and surface beyond the my attempts to borrow uniform architectural surfaces (p-briggs04).
— Paul Briggs