Memories of Touch. 2021

International Academy of Ceramics. Biennial Members exhibition. (Juried and selected by Frederick Bodet).

This work evolved from my response to the Covid epidemic, which was caused by a virus that  I contracted very early in 2020 before anyone was aware of the signifiers of the disease. It concerned ideas surrounding human contact and the “space of meeting” between two people. The work Memories of Touch is a ceramic commentary on the post-human; it uses “the hand” and “clay” as metaphor for the human. It asks questions: Where is the hand of the maker located? Who is the other?

When we meet, we make physical contact – the outer edges of two bodies overcoming their limits manifested in the handshake. In its essence it makes physical the void that exists between two individuals when they encounter one another. The work not merely engages with digital means of but complements those with analogue modes of making; it exists in the liminal space between contemporary modes of digital manufacture (“mechanical reproduction”)  and ancient modes of hand-creation.

But, what is it to be isolated and create that imprint in clay, alone?

The pieces have an aleatoric quality – the clay objects can be arranged and re-arranged in multiple combinations to create different moods. Memories of Touch is virtual and conceptual, adding to the ironic distance instituted by digitally printing an essential handmade form. The pieces derive from aa prior work based on the idea of consecrating the moment of meeting between two people. In Covid time I could not generate form in this way, so they are formed by the simple direct act of my squeezing clay – in my hand – the human body acts as a mold.  This unusual negative shape is scanned and inputted to a CD program, enlarged, and outputted to create a file that can be fed to a CNC router to cut a mold, which is used to generate multiples in bone china of the original. Some of these are fired and polished after firing in order to create a seductive and sensuous surface. For this online exhibition the pieces are photographed and cannot be physically experienced as they exist for the audience only on the internet (as it is translated again to digital code to give the image its existence on the Web).