For much of my career I have been making social and political commentary art, often also involving eroticism. In 2003 I began work that was responsive to the misguided policies of my government. As the Republican senator from Missouri, Charles Schurz said in 1861, “Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong to be put right.” I have been trying through my work to do my part. However in 2006-07, seeking a respite from the polemical, I returned to an earlier and abiding interest in animal forms and imagery with a new interest in integrating the vessel, namely the teapot, with the figure. The pot incognito, you might say.
Among artists in my own time I have admired the work of Giacomo Manzú the most, particularly for his handling of clay as an expressive material. I have tried in my work to exploit the plastic quality of clay in such a way that if a word analogous to ‘painterly’ existed, then ‘clayerly’ would describe my work.
The I Ching says, “The most perfect grace consists not in external ornamentation but in allowing the original material to stand forth, beautified by being given form.”
This cast of the I Ching is as close to a ‘truth’ as I know about my work in clay. I want my work to always reveal the direct evidence of my hand. I believe that making art and understanding art requires intellectual rigor, yet is fundamentally a somatic experience. I want the clay to ‘stand forth’ recognized for what it is while it also conveys other realities.