Ceramic sculpture by Robert Pulley and Jay Dougan will be featured together in a show entitled Ceramics: Two Perspectives at Function + Art Gallery from January 10 through February 3. Function + Art Gallery is located at 1046 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL. The human scale ceramic sculptures by Robert Pulley, an absolutearts.com Premiere Portfolio Artist, are powerful organic abstractions that combine references to geologic and biologic forms with hints of the human figure. The sculptures exhibit strength of form and richness of surface and can be installed indoors or in garden settings.
Robert Pulley States:
A friend told me recently that it was helpul for her to know how an art work is created and how the artist thinks. That led me to consider what I have to say about my art work. When one looks at my sculpture I hope one sees strength, mystery, sensuousness, spiritual energy and more. How these constructions in modeled clay can stir such responsed in myself and others is a mystery to me, but I can say something about my methods and way of thinking.
I have always been intuitive, reactive and spontaneous. I love improvisation, expression and the power of chance and serendipity. This may not seem obvious in large pieces that must be carefully crafted over weeks or months. Here is how it works. When I began the first pieces in this body of work many years ago they were purely improvisational. I would begin each piece with a flat slab of clay that I cut into a shape that would be the bottom of the sculpture. I usually had a vague idea of the proportions I wanted. This general notion set the theme within which I worked. In the manner of free jazz I would consider the form I had and mentally project what the possibilities might be for structure, expression and coherence. I worked on 4-6 pieces at a time adding a fat coil per day which I pinched into a 3-4 section. When the sculptures were leather hard they were scraped to refine profiles and edges and to provide textural contrast. The building always progressed from bottom to top with the hardening clay giving no opportunity for revision or restructuring.
Eventually I discovered that preplanning sculptures would lead to new forms. Much of the sponteneity was in the planning phase. I first did thumbnail sketches followed by small modeled clay maquettes, followed by maquettes carved from stiff little blocks of clay, followed by my current favorite, maquettes carved from pieces hammered from big, thick irregular chunks of nearly dry clay. In all cases quick brainstorming activity leads to hundreds of sketches that are culled for the rare idea that deserves to grow into a sculpture. Of the sculptures begun nearly half are rejected and destroyed before they are completed.
Sculpture is a connection between the heart and mind of one creator to the heart and mind of others by way of the eye and the hand. I create in clay because it suits me. It is a humble, common, formless substance that freezes the energy of shaping forces and is transformed by the energy of fire. Through clay I search for my place in a vast, mysterious, interconnected and sacred nature displayed in forms of plant, animal, geologic and unnameable spirit.
Robert Pulleys work can be seen at: absolutearts.com/portfolios/b/bpulley
Jay Dougan states
The industrial object is one interest that influences my current work. Particularly the types that have been abandoned and left to deteriorate yet now as discards have little outward value. This type of industrial object is the inspiration for the aesthetic I am working with. Since the original function or use of the object is lost, I am able to respond directly to the form as an aesthetic experience unto itself. It is this mystery of function and aesthetic that serves as the central influence, and is the impetus for the creation of my current ceramic objects.
I use the process of woodfiring to finish the work. This process dictates that an interaction happens between object and fire, with the form directing the path of the flame and the flame leaving its mark. For me this creates a dialogue between the fire and artist, which helps in creating a bridge between order and chaos.