JAMES KASPER
ceramic

James Kasper shows sculptural woodfired vessels. This newer work is larger and more sculptural than in the past. Kasper often involves himself in certain intellectual investigations when creating his work, reflecting his training as a physicist.

Kasper writes,  "In this new body of work I am looking at the collective through scale and artistic intent.  Nature is the beginning for both religion and science. In the earliest human efforts at understanding the world they were closely allied if not inseparable. With the Enlightenment a schism developed. Science describes nature, but does not explain it. In the effort to maintain the core bits of revealed religion many faiths closed the door on the admission of new literature and revelation. But science continued looking at the world and showing many of those parts of the ancient texts dealing with the natural world to be in error.... I have chosen to work with vessels in the larger scale of the collective (unconscious), but with direct links to the individual in use: bowls and platters that have a volume for serving many, vases that in scale and weight are more suited for semi-fixed locations and viewing from a distance by a group of people.
Purposeful decoration is drawn from elements of science (Hubble images, fossils and their casts, high energy physics, solid state physics, the history of science), elements and symbols of religion (the large group of symbols (crosses, stars, swastikas, sickles, etc), the human focal points (crucifixion, Buddha, iconoclasm (an anti-focal point), the mass of small faiths centered around more recent founders/revealers, etc)), and elements of process, both natural and manmade. In this latter aspect, I leave as many of the marks as possible on the clay from its history of being mixed and shipped, forming the blocks into rectangular solids (reference to buildings and houses), and use a very limited set of tools leaving visible enough clues on the final object to decipher the entire forming process."

text and image from Iowa Artisans Gallery

This page was first displayed
on April 27, 2007

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