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Emerging Ceramic Artist to Watch: John Utgaard, Murray, Kentucky

Posted By Ceramics Monthly On April 22, 2009 @ 2:19 pm In Ceramic Artists | No Comments

Companion, 13 in. (33 cm) in height, slab and coil built, red
earthenware, underglazes and lithium glaze, fired to cone 04 in
oxidation, 2008.

Remnant, 19 in. (48 cm) in height, slab and coil built, red earthenware, slips and lithium glaze, fired to cone 04 in oxidation,



I have always remembered my dreams. Though I have never been a religious or superstitious person, I have always believed that my dreams had significance. The fact that there are large parts of ourselves that we can never experience in waking life is deeply fascinating and disturbing to me, and it motivates much of my work as an artist. My interest in the psychological has less to do with self-analysis than with the collective, hidden territory that we all share.
I think of the things I make as geological, biological and psychological relics, as if my mind were a site of excavation. Wet clay records the work of our hands and reflects the softness of our bodies as well as the plasticity of our thoughts. When we fire it, it becomes like a fossil—hard, dead and stony, but with the evidence of a time when it was soft and alive in someone’s hands. I am attracted to how clay can speak of our living minds and bodies but at the same time of our mortality and the span of geologic time.



This was excerpted from Ceramics Monthly magazine’s
“Emerging Artists 2009″ feature, which appeared in the May 2009 issue.
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