Mary Rhein

The process and technical nature of mold making is the driving force of her creating, but so is her pathology. She finds solace in process and lives for the state of flow that goes hand in hand with repetition. In this flow, she makes complex mold systems from wheel thrown prototypes. She then casts, refines, and water-etches small batches of work that are functional yet highly conceptual. The concepts she explores link her own struggles with anxiety, how dreams and reality can coexist, and the tension between enchantment and repulsion. She refers to her work as playfully macabre.
Through excessiveness and exaggeration, I turn an ordinary object into an uncanny oddity. The work originates from feelings of uneasiness and intrigue. As a student of both ceramics and psychology, my work depicts the feeling of being overwhelmed. The imagery of teeth is significant to me. While I sleep, my anxiety manifests physically as a tightly clenched jaw, the grinding and chattering of my teeth, and dreams of my teeth breaking and falling out. This dish set is enchanting yet repulsive. The plate, cup, and bowl share elegant form and appeal, but their rims and feet are covered with teeth. They chatter and grind against the surface upon which they rest. There is an element of seduction about these functional objects. They are yearning for the warmth of the human touch, a wide open-mouth kiss when brought to one’s lips, but will they bite back? I refer to this work as playfully macabre.

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