Statement - The Figure: Formal and Abstract


My formal figurative work is rooted in Geometric Abstraction, which is evident in the loose Cubist approach I employ by segmenting the body into shapes. I use photographs by notable photographers such as, Lee Friedlander, Edward Weston and Klaus Kempert, as my source material. I look for interesting poses with limbs crossing and bodies twisting, shot from unexpected angles.

I begin by creating a maquette to work out the figure in 3D. Using a nuanced version of the slab technique, I throw forms that relate to parts of the body in porcelain. The elements are then altered and joined with contrasting black slip, exposing the joins, creating a subtle black line that appears as stitching, drawing the viewer in. When I use white slip to hide the joins, a more fluid result is achieved. The building technique relates to pattern making, a skill I learned as a young girl sewing. Thrown parts allow for a softness and roundness, which places the figure somewhere between abstraction and representation, my own hybrid style. I strive to stay true to the image, but there is ample opportunity to infuse my own figural interpretation. Negative space and the silhouette created to define gesture is the essence of my figurative work.


I enjoy working with the figure in pure abstraction, such as in Mother and Child. I also like to deconstruct the figure to find something unexpected. By deconstructed, I mean approaching the figure in unconventional terms by working with the expression of it’s parts. Muscle Man and Girly Girl developed as I was thinking about how to express masculinity and femininity through abstracted anthropomorphic shapes. Girly Girl would recall the proud stance and flirty flip of hair of a young woman, while Muscle Man’s muscles are expanding like Popeye. Clearly, I am having fun with these analogies. Adaptation began as a reclining figurative sculpture and bloomed into a sculpture with biomorphic and anthropomorphic references. I was thinking about climate change and how organisms may need to adapt to become self sufficient. This body of work is driven by the need to find the unexpected in figuration.