The body of work is composed of sculptural vessels; I explore the theme through forms that are derived from minimalism, nature and geometry. The work incorporates organic and architectural elements into the structure of my open vessels and uses the shape as a metaphor for people who interact with their external character. I believe when the vessel of a person is open, they can have true connections with their environment. Therefore, my open vessel shaped pieces indicate various depths of personal relationships. In addition, through employing the natural and organic arboreal shapes, I intend to demonstrate relationships with nature. I use these natural occurrences in nature as metaphorical and literal references to represent human relationships. As nature cannot exist without the interaction of its many component parts, man cannot exist alone. In this sense, human relationships resemble the laws of nature.
I use hand-building techniques, because the marks left by the fabricating process is very direct and leaves evidence of my physical interactions with clay. When I work with clay, my interactive conversation with the clay is vital to the process. While I slowly build up clay coils from the bottom, my hand marks remain on the surface. It records elements of movement, time and my feelings. The attractive characteristic of coil- building is that it allows artists to observe progressive growth through the process of the work. The process is very similar to raising a plant from seedling to blossoming. As a plant needs water, sunshine and time to grow, my works need patience and time. The process of building up the blocks, memories of patience and time into the pieces, I am able to create a meaningful record of my practice.
— Yoonjee Kwak
Originally from South Korea, Yoonjee currently is a Long-term Resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts Helena MT. She earned her MFA in ceramics at the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2014 and her BFA in ceramics and glass at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea. She was a resident artist and taught ceramics classes at RIT from 2014– 2017. In 2016, she was named an Emerging Artist in Ceramics Monthly magazine.