By Joshua Kelly Published in The Tiger Newspaper
Hammers, large blunt objects, knives, and large boxes of fire that react temperatures upwards of 2200 degrees Fahrenheit – these are just a few of the tools BFA senior Stephanie Post uses in her studio to make fractured life-size portrait busts and giant organic shapes out of ceramics.
Ceramics have a long history in the art world. First used to make religious and cultic figurines by the earliest human societies over 30,000 years ago, the ceramics is still one of the most widely utilized mediums in fine art culture today. And although you may first think of fine porcelain teacups and plates when you think of ceramics, many clay artists build large sculptural figures that weigh many hundreds of pounds.
Stephanie’s work explores fractured human and organic forms that reference the process of natural decay and artificial mending. This week I sat down with her in her studio to get a better insight to her process and artistic practice:
Perspective: What is your main goal with your current body of work?
Stephanie Post: I hope to draw parallels between these imperfect forms and pain and growth in the human experience. I intend to reference the human figure, if only conceptually, in every form I create. I want to explore how they function both as frozen in motion and as showing evidence of extended wear of decay.
P: How long have you been studying art?
SP: I took art classes throughout elementary and middle school, but first realized it was a field I was interested in pursuing in high school. I took all the art classes my school offered and began as a visual arts major my freshman year of college. I am now a second semester senior in the BFA program.
P: Why come to Clemson for Art?
SP: I actually transferred to Clemson from a private liberal arts school after my freshman year. I chose Clemson because of its spirit and vitality. Put simply, it is a happy place to be. I knew I didn’t want to limit myself by going to a school solely for art (I am interested in psychology as well), so I picked Clemson for its environment.
P: What is your favorite part of the Clemson Art Program?
SP: I love the community of the Clemson Art Program. I have classes with a lot of the same students, enabling us to form unique camaraderie and friendships. We are a family: staying up all night together, helping each other problem solve, and keeping each other going.
P: What is your concentration/ why?
SP: I decided to concentrate in ceramics initially because it was the area I could work in for long periods of time without getting burnt out. As I have worked with clay more, I have grown to love the tactility of it. I can push, pull, hit, tear, scrape, and stretch it and it responds. There is a very physical and personal interaction that happens, involving me on a much more intimate level with my work.
P: What does your art focus on formally and conceptually?
SP: My most recent work has explored ideas of brokenness and healing. Clay has a unique quality of remembering what has been inflicted on it and retaining evidence of that action. I have been creating forms that reference the human figure, then breaking and mending them. This work is a physical representation of emotional trauma and psychological healing.
P: Can you tell me a little about how you go about creating your work?
SP: After I build the forms with coils, I take any tools I can find in the studio (hammers, saws, knives, screwdrivers, large blunt objects) and beat them. I break off chunks and allow the forms to be disfigured by the beating. I then use a glaze/clay mixture to piece the forms back together. The final works show scars of where they have been broken.
P: Showing work anywhere?
SP: I am not currently showing work anywhere, but am creating a body of work that will be ready for my show in the Lee Gallery that opens April 15th.