Jonathan Rockford (MFA 2015)
The fluidity of transience enchants me, and capturing this quality in sculptural form contains a paradox that I find equally fascinating. Clouds, vapor, smoke, history, and other nebulous volumes inspire these sculptures, and become voids within this body of work.
Like blowing bubbles in sub-zero temperatures, I cast clay nets over ephemeral forms, and in this “freezing” or pausing of the ever morphing, their essence disintegrates and evanesces. The push/pull tension of expansion and transition is then ensnared as a mnemonic remnant in the brittle, fragile, elegance of porcelain. The surface is now the form, with its hollowness echoed and amplified through its torus-like geometry. Because of each form’s open-networked lattice-like surface structure, looking at the object also means looking through the object, and spatial confusions between the fore, middle, and background occur. This play on dimensionality is taken one step further as some of the pieces are filmed in rotation like digitally rendered 3D models. This highly labored, time-intensive, process is then completely flattened into the digital realm through video.
The transitional process of the medium from fiber, to clay, to glazed and painted porcelain further befuddles notions of materiality and destabilizes ideas of familiarity as we continually search for associations within the objects. Even when a form embodies a similarity to its source, the transitional nature of the process and the vacancy of the object itself render it indefinite, and present questions about our physical perceptions, memory, and understandings on a broader scale. By fixing the form in a seemingly impossible porcelain structure, its evanescent origins paradoxically come to the fore as our comprehension is loosed into the fugitive realm of the nebulous.