Ronan Peterson

I make pots from red earthenware clay.  Most of my vessels are utilitarian in nature with intensely carved and textured surfaces sometimes involving insects, bugs, and the like in decorative motifs and stylizations. I tend to focus on rock and treelike forms, with surface textures indicative of those two phenomena. With the fauna and creepy crawlies that inhabit the forest floor in mind, I train my sight on the landscape and the edifices that serve as homes, nourishment, and hiding places for these tiny inhabitants of the forest. I utilize the rocks and trees as vessels or containers, hearkening to their ability to shelter life in many forms, from desirable symbiotes to the parasites that hasten life’s end to feed their own. Making rocks and trees into containers, I am attempting to draw attention to their ability to sustain life and also to embody history, a record of the elements and days of sun and rain that shaped them and enabled them to grow as well as be eroded away. Specifically with “tree” forms, I hope to convey a sense of the growth with the stylized growth ring patterns and the bumps or knobs that remind me of the limbs that once grew there before their amputation and scarification.

Essentially, I am dealing with affects of agents of growth and decay and how these agents shape and embellish the surfaces of stones and the skins of trees. These agents also serve key roles in interacting with the ceramic vessels; mushrooms, seed pods, grubs and other growths serve as knobs and handles, enabling us to remove the lids and discover what might be inside or underneath a covered vessel, like lifting a rock to have insects scurry in many different directions when subjected to the light of day. The vessels are not intended to be actual representations of the trees and rocks, but abstractions and stylizations of these natural phenomena. Employing an earthy background palette stretched across textured but quieter surfaces, I wanted to upset that quiet earthiness with intense splashes of vibrant color, patterns, and glossy surfaces not commonly associated with tree bark or the rough surfaces of rocks amidst fallen leaves.  I am interested in inflated volume and thick line qualities that reference comic style drawings and how that can apply to interpreting the natural world.  My goal is to create a comic book interpretation of the natural world with a focus on the rocks and trees and their role in the continuous organic comedy of growth and decay.

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