Nowhere Else

Nowhere Else

Since 2017, I have made a series of relief works positioned within frames, containers or shelves. The works are about presence; we exist here, now, and nowhere else. The relief components of this ongoing body of work are typically ceramic, using different clay bodies, glazes, and surface finishes. 

Each work is begun by dividing clay slabs into a regular grid of clay blocks which are then cut without pre-planning, left to right, top to bottom. The cutting and shaping of each element of the relief is informed by the ones preceding. This methodology builds over time and during making as further elements of the work are completed. 

Connections between the elements that make up the work are made visible. In some instances, the cuts and marks merge into the elements directly adjacent and scored lines suggest further connections. In other instances, these connections end or fragment, raising questions about what was separated, what has been pieced back together and what is now whole. The regularity of the shadows created by consistent depth, direction or forms present within the relief imply there is symbolic meaning to the repetition and rhythm in the work. 

The dividing, shaping, cutting, and scoring of the clay forms in each work can occur within a day or over the space of several concurrent days. As the works are not predetermined, they become specific records of the physical, emotional, and sensed phenomenon of that moment in time.

Through the process of making these works over many years, I have come to understand them as documentation of the here and now, ‘written’ using a personal, symbolic visual language. The vocabulary that I apply from one work to the next has become a structured method to make sense of, and document, the complexities of a moment in time. Unlike a typical writing system, the shapes and forms that make up each work are not codified to the degree that they can be ‘deciphered’ or ‘read’, nor indeed could they be repeated. The specific qualities of the moment they were created means there will always be a temporal changeability to what is ‘recorded’ from one work to the next, again and again and anew.

Since 2017, the framing and presentation of the relief works has utilised both metal and timber as a system of containment. In this current collection of 13 works, titled Nowhere Else, the ceramic elements are held within deep timber frames, colour matched to the specific ceramic work they hold. As such, there is only one frame that suits each work. The role of the frame is to contain the different fragments that make up each work; to preserve the connections and relationships that exist between the elements and to ensure that the work remains ‘whole’.