Ruined Isle, 2019 Joshua R. Clark
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Ruined Isle, 2019 Joshua R. Clark

Palm Someday, ceramic, resin, 2019, 11x10x16 in.

The Contemporary ceramic art of Joshua R. Clark

When we look at an ordinary doorstop, having selected it from among other objects, a process is launched. This process ends with our interpretation of that doorstop. We take the information that we have sensed, aided by learning, memory and expectation, and turn it into something that we can make sense of and know.

To see something we (usually unconsciously) choose to see it. This choice is swayed by a predisposition to perceive things in certain ways. We can be influenced by context, personal motives, impulses, enticements and aesthetics. This is why we will choose one thing over another, and value objects differently. Finally, because of this same predisposition, certain objects may in fact become invisible to us.

The ceramic work of Joshua R. Clark is about how we see. His visual prompts can be overwhelming, appearing more as clutter than anything remarkable. Overall, we are charmed by their color and shine — like the delight of red hot candies or liquid gold — and presented with the opportunity to gauge the aesthetic appeal. However, once we see a discrete object it becomes visible and we recognize it. It is familiar. This may not have been a simple undertaking. Clark’s seemingly miscellaneous objects are out of place and often assigned an alternate purpose.

At that same time, Clark is building something. The work takes on the quality of an architectural model, or a still life setup. They are, as a whole, substantial, purposeful and deliberate. In this regard the pieces do fit together, grouped and stacked up into a single form. They too are something we can see, and like the doorstop, become something we can make sense of and know.

Clark encourages our engagement with his enticing persuasion combined with an aesthetic appeal. We want to look at this work. The allure is glossy and syrupy. We savor what we see. If we were to taste it, it would taste like a sweet confection, only a few days old. We also want to know how it was made, as though it is too real to be believed.

— John Dunn

2018, 10x11x10 in. Mixed_media sculpture.

Needle nose to say, 2018, 10 x 1 1 x 1 0 in. Mixed media sculpture.

Robert Jackson Harrington

No Small Parts

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