According to Elaine K. Ng, there is beauty in states of transition, impermanence and "the uncomfortable space between destinations." With help from ancient materials like clay, Ng wants to pull our attention toward all that stuff we usually try to look beyond or ignore altogether.
That's the essence of her contribution to CERAMICA: Contemporary Clay at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Galleries of Contemporary Art, a show also featuring works by locals Mark Wong, Jerry Morris and Corie Cole, and Del Harrow of Fort Collins.
Ng's installation "It Was While We Were On Our Way Home" is a delicate web constructed from clay, thread and sewing needles. Nothing about it speaks to our typical ideas of pottery and clay.
"The field has changed a lot [and] I don't think the public is aware of it," the Michigan artist says. With materials like the taut thread, she's able to evoke emotion and "[catch] a moment that you normally wouldn't be able to see and be able to contemplate it from all different directions." The lighting, negative space and the shadows created, too, become equally important.
Adding to the complexity of her work, Ng also provides her own poetry with the pieces. "It's a different form of writing an artist statement," she says. "I think of the work as visual poetry, and I use things that are symbolic to create meanings."
The scope of the show is vast, ranging from Corie Cole's penchant for the absurdist and political to the elegance of Mark Wong's "1,000 Crane Platters Project" ("Flock mentality," Seven Days to Live, Nov. 21). According to Ng, "The thing that links all of us is our interest in material and the exploration that comes with it." And for her, at least, that means exploring those things that usually fall through the cracks.
The striking colors and textures are reminiscent of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Lovely work.