Monday, March 20, 2017

AMBIVALENCE: A story plate

Ambivalence is the title of this ceramic plate, which I will be showing in May as part of our DEEP SIX exhibit at the Old City Jewish Art Center in Philadelphia.

I made the plate leaving an area open for a photograph, without first knowing which one I might choose.  Here it is, prior to the final glazing, awaiting the photograph.

I looked at many, including old family photos, but ended up choosing a vintage photo of an unknown brother and sister.  At first I thought I chose it because the size and sepia tone worked.

The plate with its photo was coated with encaustic, giving it a dream-like quality. I added an old fashioned lapel pin that once belonged to my aunt.  It is a question mark, yet a beautiful one, gold with tiny pearls.

It became apparent that the spirals surrounding the siblings on all sides echo the question mark.  

The title became clear:  Ambivalence, which is most intense perhaps towards those we love the most. This is the first ceramic plate I have made, and sure enough it captures one of the central stories of my life:  my relationship with my brother.  Ah, the power of the unconscious!  There was more of a reason I chose that particular photo than just its size and color.  My hope is that each viewer will resonate with this story plate, both for its design and for whatever way it touches their own personal story.  The details of ambivalence are different for each of us, but ambivalence itself is universal.