MFA Sculpture

Utilizing the idea of the American carnival and its imagery, I investigate the symbolism and mystery that clowns convey. Cultural perceptions of clowns vary from happy to sad, tragic to comic. Their lighthearted absurdity intrigues me and informs the complex nature of humans and their relationship to the clown within. Hollywood, the media, and a few bad actors have redirected perceptions of clowns to evoke people’s deepest fears. People are more concerned with the person beneath the façade. Another aspect of my work explores the aspiration found in the simplicity of a kite. By rendering this familiar object in an unexpected material, clay, the object becomes stripped of its function. A kite is designed to fly; but when constructed from an impractical material like porcelain, the object is fragile and inadequate, while maintaining its aspirational intention. I am interested in this object’s inherent contradictions and the possibility of transcending them by actually flying. My attempts to fly the ceramic kite lives as a performance documented in video and photographs. The kite functions as art as well as a prop for a performance about frustration and futility. My repeated attempts to fly the kite fulfill the kite’s aspirational and visual reality, but its physical reality frustrates this possibility, and, in the end, I realize I have become the clown.

Clown coming out of a frame on a wall

Breakthrough, 2020

Painting/Sculpture, 24” x 58”

group of people dressed as clowns partying

Clownscape, 2020

Photograph, 16” x 24”