Jennifer McCurdy is a ceramic artist who I have long admired for her intricate porcelain works which are inspired by the nature which surrounds her at home on Martha’s Vineyard in the USA.
Ms McCurdy’s work can be seen at: http://jennifermccurdy.com/currentwork.shtml
Ms McCurdy has worked with porcelain for over 30 years and is continuing to experiment with just how thin her chosen material can be fired or how much can be cut away before it collapses. Initially the work is started on the potters wheel before it is dried until as hard as leather and at that point the carving begins – the patterns created add life and energy and contrast. After the porcelain is fired Ms McCurdy often adds gilding to the interior of the piece which, as she states on her website, creates new patterns and shadows.
I found myself thinking of the intricate shell-like and flower-inspired structures as I have worked on developing a sample for assignment 4 – I find the forms created fascinating as they almost seem to be moving despite their static and solid nature. I grew up partly on the south coast of England before moving for the middle part of my childhood to the east coast so understand how Ms McCurdy is so inspired by the nature of her home and particular in the shells she finds on the beaches and maybe it is the Plymouth girl within me that still calls out to my creativity – the inner child wanting to create something familiar that goes further back that my memory.
There are some pieces on Ms McCurdy’s website that are titled ‘ribbon’ vessels and these literally ribbon line in structure and again have a real sense of movement with a delicacy that makes it hard to believe they are porcelain. Looking through the gallery of works it seems that many of the shapes are at their heart very similar which maybe due to the confines of the potters wheel or simply that from a basic shape the variety of forms can emerge each with their own linear quality. There is also a repetitive nature in the patterns within each creation – when you break them down they are one singular pattern repeated in swirls or lines which come together to create the finished result.
Although I like working with colour I find the simplicity of the white porcelain means that colour is not needed to create the shadows which further add to the patterns and forms of the piece – there is a real play of light throughout the individual pieces that would look completely different depending on the location in which they were displayed and this makes me think about Project 5 Context.
I do feel that this is an artist who will influence my work, not just now, but in the future – the shell structures in particular are of great interest in particular.