Ceramic artist Chris Wight finds inspiration for many of his pieces “in the patterns, textures, shapes and forms found in nature - often and in particular, the ‘tiny worlds’ seen under a microscope or through a macro lens”.
This work explores erosion and the disruption of form. Focusing on biological erosion, I wanted to convey the idea of a host being attacked and eaten away by a parasitic virus, highlighting the creeping spread of the infection as it corrupts the body. I have produced a series of angular porcelain forms, sandblasted to wear the surface and reveal inner strata. This aggressive process, contrarily, creates a delicate vulnerability in the shape. The translucency of the porcelain and the interruption of the surface make it possible to glimpse through to layers beneath, creating a tension between the seen and the obscured.
What happens to once-celebrated, now superseded theories?
Physicists are busy developing sophisticated theories around the existence of things that are impossible for us to see, perfecting mathematical models of the ‘beyond-visible’ worlds of the very large and distant (using Einstein’s theory of relativity) and the very small (using quantum mechanics).
Focusing on this realm of the intangible, I wanted to explore how abstract theoretical ideas can be visually represented. I also wanted to play with the notion that today’s cutting-edge theories may one day be seen as quaint and curious museum pieces: theoretical antiques or abstract junk.
The objects might be found in someone’s dusty attic or perhaps turn up on Antiques Roadshow in the future: “Oh my! Look what they thought in 2008!”
Quantum Chess by Olena Shmahalo is based on Richard Feynman’s metaphor for quantum mechanics.
About the project:
The material, fired clay, alludes to the biblical story of creation (from dust, dirt, mud) as it sits in accordance with the current, scientific understanding of our being. The phrase “Created in the image of god” has become equivalent to being “made of star stuff” (Carl Sagan).
As each piece is both “subject” and “landscape” (piece & board), the set does away with the concept of Classical separation in favor of suggesting a perception of All as unified, yet variously manifested. The shape of the “landscape” comes from illustrated representations of quantum space-time, magnified, as seen in Hawking’s Brief History of Time.
The metaphorical form of these pieces complicates the game, just as increased knowledge requires more complex equipment and more difficult questions. Each time a new game is begun, it must be treated as if entering a new “universe”. It’s possible to play Quantum Chess according to the classic rules, but the players must assign names to and label the pieces in order to keep track of the game.
With Thanksgiving approaching and families visiting, it’s a good time to pick up some of Lisa Townley’s fantastic up-cycled tableware from her Etsy store. If you think your family is crazy, find out exactly how crazy with some Rorschach test plates. If not, her poultry diagrams might be more useful for the big dinner.