Susan Nemeth

Signs of fragility, vulnerability and individuality are exposed in the handmade object. I am interested in how individuality is expressed in an object and the way hand making humanizes it. The early European porcelains of Meissen and Sèvres are my reference - but these symbols of perfection eliminate the mark of the maker. Disrupting, simplifying and transforming these objects with the imperfect touch create a bare essential caricature, exposing a raw rudeness. My ceramics investigate how rapid sketching becomes more animate and anthropomorphic with repetition and how this translates into sculptures of pottery. Exploring the idea of the pot as a relic, womb or container, certain elements become pivotal. Specifically, the opening may resemble the sore flush of a wound or the lure of an orifice, similarly, the belly may be a bulging paunch swollen with imaginary contents, held insecurely above a slender stem to emphasise it’s frailty. Interacting with the material is a two way process. My practice of making, destroying and remaking parallels cycles of decay and renewal. I build, soak, push, squeeze, break, cut, tear and repair. To destroy and rebuild causes a lack of control, which adds motion to the making. The visible construction is similar to that of drawing, erasing and adjusting.Porcelain is chosen for its purity, sensitivity, movement during the firing and its paradoxical qualities of fragility and strength. Up to ten layers of coloured, transparent slips are painted to form a skin-like membrane. Digitally printed ceramic transfers, together with glaze and gold leaf allude to the porcelain’s history.The sources for the still lives include the distorted, decaying, bawdy fruits of Luis Meléndez, the compositions of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and the painterly qualities of Paul Gauguin.