Masters in Fine Arts student Ms Anda Dodo recently showcased some of her ceramic pieces at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. This exhibition and walkabout is part of her research work.
To understand the role of the vessel in contemporary ceramics, Dodo focused part of her research on important aspects of ceramic history in Britain and America since the beginning of the twentieth century. It also includes selected contemporary artists such as Ewen Henderson, Wayne Higby and Peter Voulkos, whose work has inspired her own practice.
‘This research enabled me to gain a better understanding of the shifts in thinking about the use of the vessel as a form of expression and a carrier of meaning rather than merely as a container where the utilitarian function was the chief consideration for the maker,’ she said.
Dodo’s ceramic vessels are primarily influenced by two aspects of the natural environment, the physical appearance of the natural landscape and her reflection on these places that she sees as meditative spaces.
‘The physical appearance of the landscape with its mountainous forms, valleys and horizon lines are reflected in the way that I build my forms and texture the surfaces. The varied surfaces invite the viewer to engage with the tactile nature of clay,’ says Dodo. ‘The stretched, torn, and pulled edges express the plasticity of the clay while suggesting the fragility I find in myself. Vulnerability has been expressed in the way that I have left the rough surfaces bare and unchanged. In this way, I express revealing and concealing in my practice and in exhibiting my work.’
The natural landscape allows Dodo to escape the busy city to meditate on what she personally experiences. Her experience in the natural landscape extends to her studio practice, allowing her to create vessels that reflect that emotive experience. Dodo was able to reflect on the natural outdoor spaces to create vessels which became containers for contemplation.
‘The making process is an integral part of the metaphorical meaning of these vessels. I have used both throwing and hand-building to make my vessels and sometimes both processes are used to make one piece. I also alter my forms by cutting and squashing the clay. The calm of these landscapes enabled me, through my practice, to mentally revisit the feeling of peace and tranquillity and to fully meditate and engage in my process,’ explained Dodo.
She hopes to continue creating work that has been influenced by what she learnt during her Masters studies. ‘Experimentation has been a significant role in my studio practice, so I hope to explore different landscapes and other available ceramic materials to further explore my visual vocabulary,’ said Dodo.
Her artworks are available for purchase. Interested buyers can contact her via email email@example.com