Max Saunders: BFA Exhibition in Ceramics

Artifacts Who Whisper 

When: December 6–16, 2016

Where: Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, December 9, 6–8:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Monday–Saturday; 12:00 pm.–6:00 p.m. Sunday
All events are free and open to the public

Artist Statement

People and cultures leave behind artifacts that survive long beyond their bodies. This is seen in objects from obelisks and arrowheads to pots and archeological ruins. When we explore these pieces, we gain some understanding of the people that made and interacted with them, but this understanding is often incomplete, as the objects might have eroded or decayed over time. With this loss of information, the viewer is forced to create their own story for the piece and come up with their own history for its maker.

The pieces in this show act similarly to these archaeological artifacts. The objects I make combine an understanding of historical forms and cultures with my own personal history and memories. Although they are deeply personal to me, the forms are abstracted enough to allow different responses in different viewers. Ultimately this is the goal; I am less interested in presenting my own personal story to the world than I am in creating a space that allows the viewer to explore themselves and use my objects as proxies and prompts onto which they can project their own deeply personal stories.

The pots in this show stand both as functional relics and active metaphors for the contemporary body. Pots have largely been replaced in society by industrially produced objects. The storage jar has been replaced by the refrigerator; liquor is stored in industrially made glass or plastic bottles. This has coincided with what I see as a societal abandonment of our bodies that I feel as a sense of detachment. My pots reflect this abandonment, standing distressed and eroded like our bodies, while remaining functional for those wishing to re-engage. Although they retain this sense of functionality, they are similar to to the other works in the show; my pots act as forms for the viewer to project their own experiences of body and self onto.