MFA Thesis Exhibit

Joshua Schutz

Ceramic Art


Artist Statement

The three dimensional form of my sculptures are subverted by flamboyant surface applications. Often using reinterpreted patterns, I wonder how close one must be to the pattern before my mark becomes legible and whether the queer symbolism is familiar. Masking figurative form with such decoration creates a visual hierarchy of information. One that serves as a metaphor in my practice for the marginalization of the queer community. Form becomes subaltern to surface.

Treatment of function and the gestural language of the work are two important considerations when constructing meaning. I approach function with a queer lens. An umbrella piercing a large ceramic figure leans, the lean is both a signifier and a political act as I work towards reimagining domestic objects as queer. I catalog many of my gestures in order to find interpretive qualities and develop my own gestural language. Quick or rapid gestures might evoke a sense of impulsiveness or lack of care lending itself to cynical interpretation. Expedient gesture can also result in innocence or a self-deprecating quality, which might be interpreted as humor with its juxtaposition to existing as a serious art object. My work lends itself to both of these interpretations, and fits quite comfortably between humor and cynicism.

The direction of my studio practice has been disrupted with new limitations of access to ceramic facilities and the necessity of utilizing digital tools to finish work. The consumerist critique has been reimagined into advertisements featuring the work. A meta pursuit selling a fictional product that exists as a one-of-a-kind art object. The hierarchy of visual information is easy to subvert and digitally alter in a virtual dimension meaning a new aesthetic focus on the importance of color relationships and design qualities supersede the desire to share experience or connect. The resulting works still maintain a queer aesthetic to the surface or form, but now presents less cynically and more like a celebration of this very uncertain time. A time perhaps most similar to a queer experience of feeling marginalized, uncertain, and often times alone.