Saturday, 6 August 2016
emerging artist: Brian McNamara
My current body of work entitled Seven-Sevenfold, focuses on the rocky relationship I’ve built with religion as a means of identity. In constructing a narrative of my life in the Catholic Church as a bleak landscape, I have situated isolated ceramic pieces with desolate ink drawings. My use of clay references the convention of creation myths, such as God creating man from dirt in Genesis 2:7. In this way I act as creator to my own abominations.
My whole life has revolved around storytelling. My favorite stories were alwaysthe ones that were about society and the leaders of society. Stories that have a utopian society broken by a character revealing it as dystopia: such as Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, even The Bible. I look to these books with a critical eye and place them in the context of my own life to inspire my art, my aesthetics, and my morality. Through these books I’ve learned what it means to find the idea of ‘self’, what it means to experience, and what it means to love.
In the same way storytelling is rooted in folk tradition, I approach my artwork as an adaptation of traditional folk ceramics. I create figures in a gestural way, leaving the mark of my hand and using a loose-hand built method of construction. When thinking of a composition I pull influence from the Muromachi period of Japanese Suibokuga. The loose and gestural scroll drawings provide a much-needed harmony to the rough material and surfaces of the ceramic pieces.
For guidance in the creation of Seven-Sevenfold, I investigated the number seven and its prominence in The Bible. This body of work features seven landscapes to represent a dystopian viewing of the utopia given to the Israelites after the 40 years of wandering mentioned in Deuteronomy; mirrored in this relationship between the abominations and the alien desert landscapes that I created.
Through the lens of the Catholic Church I am that abomination; set out on my journey through the desert to find my utopia, whether or not it exists.