Katherine L. Ross
Soviet propaganda porcelain and porcelain dinnerware used by families tell a story of affairs of state, wealth, and relationships. Porcelain found objects are historical representations that present a personal family history connecting past to present. This is the subject of “1937” , a continuation of the earlier “Yeyegov Erasures”.
“Subjective Meadow” consists of several hundred, slip cast porcelain spheres, and while still soft and pliable, took them to my mules’ field. The animals were free to investigate, sniff and push the spheres, distorting and leaving their marks as a record of their interaction. The resulting objects and video are hauntingly beautiful, and a quiet meditation on the possibilities for both understanding and relating to another species. Because their senses pick up on different things (a survival tactic), different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds (their Umwelt). Everything about a person or animal shapes the world it inhabits.
For “ Unseen and Misremembered” I stripped away vegetation in the field and exposed the clay never seen. With a camera strapped under the belly of my mule I rode her over that field. With every step the clay flew into the air. I replanted the field and don’t see the clay anymore.
Soil borings from downtown Chicago, pipes driven far into the ground, filled with the clay to be tested before a skyscraper is built. We never see the clay in Chicago.
Centuries ago scientists travelled in search of the unknown. One returned, hired an artist to draw animals from his description for an encyclopedia. Misremembered or inaccurately explained, the artist drew the mule.
The natural world is often concealed from us. We think we know. I think I know clay. I walk over clay under my house and clay under Chicago every day. It is unseen.