My artwork explores how memory shapes my concepts of home. Home is where I live: the people, objects, and places I am surrounded by and my state of mind. Home is supposed to be comfortable, supportive, and stable, but when the memories of home that define who I am are fallible, I am in a constant state of flux, searching for myself.
I use photographs from the past to illustrate my decorative ceramic objects with my memories of places, personal items, and people, and I alter them. By firing images of these memories onto my pieces, I make rooms and objects tangible; permanent yet ultimately inaccessible. I blur some figures with a running glaze, referring to both the imperfections in my memories and my ongoing search for self.
I use porcelain and Rococo imagery to reference decorative objects from the past. Both have a long history of representing social status and wealth, but in contemporary society can be seen as kitsch. These references create a sense of familiarity, as many of us were raised with objects like figurines, commemorative plates, and framed paintings.
I illustrate emotionally honest imagery that is both specific to me and relatable to others. I provide the viewer with these images and no explanation, inviting them to imagine their own narratives. Our identities emerge through the creation and retention of our autobiographical memories, and I draw attention to that through my work. By sifting through my memories, illustrating them, and altering them, I am exploring myself through my notions of home and memory.
— Sara Morales-Morgan
Sara E. Morales-Morgan is an artist from San Jose, California and Hartselle, Alabama. She creates illustrative ceramic objects that explore how memory shapes her notions of home and identity. She received her Master’s degree in Ceramics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of South Alabama. She has exhibited her work nationally, most notably at the Archie Bray Foundation’s “Eighth Annual Beyond the Brickyard Juried Exhibition,” the Clay Studio’s “Marge Brown Kalodner Juried Graduate Student Exhibition,” the 49th Annual NCECA “Student Show,” and the Dairy Barn Arts Center’s “OH+5: Ohio Border Biennial,” where she won “Best in Show.” Her work has been published in Ceramics Monthly and in “500 Figures in Clay, Volume 2” by LARK Books. She has been a resident artist at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts’ “Pentaculum,” at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts as a Kiln God Award recipient, and is currently the 2016 – 2017 Lormina Salter Resident Artist Fellow at Baltimore Clayworks.