0James Freeman Studio

James Freeman Studio Sculptural Ceramics
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Manitou Beach, Michigan                                   Ceramic Sculpture, Ceramic Vessels, Metal Sculpture, Fine Woodworking

Artist Statement:

Ceramics was mankind's first technology. While our forebears had long manipulated stone and bone, wood, hide, and sinew, their processes involved the mere shaping of materials, which remained largely unaltered from their original composition. Ceramics changed that. It was the first time we altered the basic chemical and physical properties of a material, making objects out of mud, then transforming them to stone.

Metalwork was our second technology. Though early metal workers simply reshaped materials found in their native state, it was not long until they too developed the ability to alter the basic nature of their material, extracting and refining metals from raw ore and alloying them with other materials. It was during the bronze age that potters, particularly in China, began to make copies of expensive metal vessels out of their much cheaper and more easily manipulated clay.

My current series of “Industrialware” grew from this art historical basis, spiced by my interest in mathematical and philosophical recursion. The earliest pieces were explorations of the idea of using clay to imitate imagined metal vessels, which in turn are interpretations of earlier ceramic vessels. This line of inquiry lead to my latest work, which explores concepts of technological obsolescence, man's increasing reliance on technology, and thoughts about the nature of immortality and the afterlife.

About me:

Clay is a heavy, dense material that seems naturally predisposed to the production of ponderous and rather dumpy forms. It also has a tendency to do as it pleases in the searing heat of the kiln, bending, twisting, and slumping in response to any technical flaw in conception or execution, and to the inexorable laws of physics. I enjoy the aesthetic and technical challenge of attempting to coax this material into forms that display a sense of lightness, lift, and elegance, but are yet able to withstand the clay’s natural proclivity to pull itself apart on drying or to surrender to the relentless pull of gravity as it loses it’s structural integrity as the kiln temperature increases. As a perfectionist with a strong if not dominant left-brain, the choice of ceramics as a means of creative expression is perhaps odd. I often find myself in a Sisyphean battle to coax precision and extreme technical complexity out of an utterly recalcitrant medium.