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Clay and glaze

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Comment by Resident Curator on October 22, 2011 at 3:22pm

I do like Herzog- I find him to be an eccentric combination of single minded/focused genius and naive enthusiast.  Definitely a junkie!  I love your reference.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is about the Chauvet caves of Southern France that were discovered in the mid 1990's.  Twice as old as Lascaux, they're the oldest examples of painting anywhere on earth.  The images are startling- bison have eight legs, like a Muybridge photo. 30,000 years ago, mind you.  But Herzog's narration throughout the film is about about the larger illusion of being trapped in our time.  Drawings were layered on top of one another, separated by thousands of years.

I often speak with an artist friend about the web that connects us to our work, and eachother, and how reality is our own construct.  So I couldn't agree more.

Comment by Jac Bowers on October 22, 2011 at 10:47am

I am not familiar with the film, is it related to making objects or illusion? Herzog is a film maker you like?

The point about illusion for me is that it is so rampant and there seems to be very little we see that is not a magic trick. Now that we know that all objects are made of atoms and atoms are made primarily of empty space, we have a fundamental problem as we peer out into our funny little world. Reality is a bundle of probability amplitudes and our own perspective, point of view or attitude largely determines what we see. Don't you agree?

Making objects, on the other hand, is a profound joy and sort of nirvana access at times. When I was getting my MFA at San Francisco Art Institute, we used to joke about how when an artist is after a certain component that he needs for a work, he is like a junkie. Time and hunger and other ordinarily required items seem to become unimportant. 

I really appreciate your taking the time to say in touch. Thanks for the comments!

Comment by Resident Curator on October 22, 2011 at 9:38am

These conversations are a pleasure.  I'm also intrigued by illusion but personally find a comfort, if not a visceral enjoyment in the physical, tactile, making of objects.  I'm wondering if you've seen Herzog's new film 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'?

Comment by Jac Bowers on October 20, 2011 at 10:49pm

 Cool Kristen,

I really appreciate the time you have taken to get back to me and the kind consideration of your insightful response. 

You have a point there; the everyday is present in the mundane and ubiquitous icon of the box shape. The distortion of this readily recognized, remarkably common container is what I am after, after all. Hopefully it is jarring, even if just a little, to those such as yourself that take it in.

As we slow down to determine the nature of our human nature, we discover that we deem the oppressive, boxed in way we march around, day to day, as ordinary. Authors like Eckhart Tolle, The Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther King show us the errors of our ways. Even Steve Jobs’ biography, that will be available in a few days, indicates that there are better ways to perceive reality.

Isn’t Illusion interesting? I suggest to you, and all my viewers of this work, that we barely scratch the surface when we really look out with our eyes as it connects with our mind. Reality is subjective, not objective.

Thank you so much for the utterly fascinating engagement you offer me and your seemingly sincere interest.


Comment by Resident Curator on October 20, 2011 at 10:27pm

Hi Jack, I'm still digesting your comments!  There seems to be so many layers of information.  I hadn't considered the golden mean before when looking at your work.  I understand and appreciate your expression of illusionary form versus a container ripe with narrative content.  But what about the appearance of the everyday and the distortion of its form in our conciousness?


Comment by Jac Bowers on October 18, 2011 at 12:43pm

Good Morning Kristen,

This is a rare event to be able to exchange ideas about art on this site. I appreciate your interest.

I don't see the clay work as less serious but I do agree there is an attempt at humor and hopefully a kind of optimism shows up. The minimal work is targeting a gestalt for the viewer that hopefully results in a jarring, illusionary experience.

If you are still with me and want a bit more of the motivation for the work, my intentions for producing this kind of imagery is as follows:


The box is the perfect metaphor for the human condition for me. It is riddled with content and has a uniquely ridged, geometric form that spells consistency with an inherent discomfort to change. We see it throughout poetry, architecture, commerce and even in our own consciousness and sub consciousness as an icon for enclosure and parameters of thinking.

Using the golden rectangle to create the box shape is also a way of presenting a principal of nature. The golden section is the ancient proportion we see throughout biology, music, art and the universe in general. The long side of the rectangle is 161.8 % of the length of the short side.

Finally, using a three dimensional rendering of a two dimensional shape and then building it in three dimensions helps me convey the complex nature of our human condition. We see reality based on our own perspective. Truth for each of us is a function of how we happen to come to the phenomenon we encounter. We can only see what we conclude to be reality through the lense we have developed from our cumulative experience.


Thank you again for your interest. I'd love to hear from you again.



Comment by Resident Curator on October 18, 2011 at 9:05am

Hi Jack, Thanks very much for responding.  I enjoy commenting on and reacting to fresh new work, but the artist always offers new perspectives and insights.  Was I on target with my reference to deconstruction of commercial vessels?  I'm curious if you also see the ceramic pieces as humorous and the more economic structures as the more serious work?


Comment by Jac Bowers on October 17, 2011 at 1:41pm
Hi Kristen,

Great to hear from you and I am thrilled that you find my work appealing. It would be my pleasure to communicate more with you about this. Please be in touch and I will do what I can to help make sure you get what you need from me.

All the best,

Jack Bowers
Comment by Resident Curator on October 16, 2011 at 7:47pm

Curator’s Comment:


I’m intrigued by your ceramic works as they appear to be unusual hybrids of ubiquitous white cartons and more surreal, George Ohr-type vessels that buckle under their own serendipitous weight.  Box of bounty is particularly striking.  The red rim of the piece counters the organic undulations below.  The pigment (paint or glaze) looks almost opalescent, containing warm and cool hues, and yet the pale restraint keeps the carton fairly “white”.  I see an assured joy in this piece, or absurd hilarity in its making. The title also suggests a restructuring or reorganization- the box or container of ‘bounty’ could be a gift or prize, or it could be reference a commercial product.  It’s clear you’re interested in deconstruction of form.  Sun Dial and Saved Empty have this conceptual reordering of the mundane.  But I believe the more colorful and exuberant ceramic pieces contain another layer of nuanced humor that seems absent in the more severe ‘empty’ vessels.  I would love to see these pieces in person, as the actual edges give the impression of illusion as well.

Resident Curator Views

Ms Kristen T. Woodward critiques of members art.


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