Emily Connell joins
Winthrop University’s Department of Fine Arts
to host an Artist Workshop
Topic: Slip Cast Books
Thursday, April 18, 2013
4:00p.m. to 6:15p.m.
Art Education Room
Emily Connell Bio
Emily Connell creates her work through a variety of media, including ceramics, video, photography, and performance. Her unique background informs her work which walks a line between two spiritual extremes.
Connell worked on her artwork at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snow Mass, Colorado, and the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary. Emily Connell received her BFA degree in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute. Currently, she is a Ceramics Instructional Assistant to George Timock at the Kansas City Art Institute and a 2012-2013 Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Resident in Kansas City, Missouri.
Connell’s work is published in area publications and Ceramics Monthly magazine. She exhibits nationally, including an exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts. In 2012, Connell received the Regina Brown Fellowship to research Catholic processions in Italy during the spring of 2013.
Emily Connell’s Artist Statement
“The progressive secularization of modern man has altered the content of his spiritual life, but not broken the mould of his imagination; a huge residue of mythology lingers in the zones that have escaped regimentation.”
–Mircea Eliade, Images et symbols, Paris 1952.
The mysticisms I experienced as a child at Catholic school still hold a great power over me, influencing my art. I make my work in two stages. First I create objects inspired from religion, and configure them into a scene. Next I use my body to create a context and purpose for the objects. By recording these symbolic interactions through the lens of the camera I produce photographs and video to display alongside my objects. The combination of photographs and relics create a narrative while also heightening the mystery of spiritual purpose.
Using a found vade mecum, or a book of reference (encyclopedia, Bible, dictionary), I cover it, page-by-page, in slip. Firing the book in a kiln transforms it into a reliquary shell, containing the ashes of the book within. Ensuring stability for the delicate book I encase it with chalky plaster. I then use a masonry-saw to cut the piece, revealing the cross-section of the ceramic pages.
These objects become a part of my pseudo-ritual interaction that I perform and document. The use of my body blurs the separation of roles in religious practice, from the sacred leader and practitioner/parishioner, all the way to that of the cynic.
Christopher Smalls is a BFA- Jewelry and Metals student currently studying conceptual themes here at Winthrop University. Born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina on St. Helena Island by his mother who is a large African Art Collector and Historian for freed slaves in the south. She was the one who truly inspired Smalls to become an artist. In high school he signed up for a new artist exclusive show per his mother’s advice, which gave him the courage to pursue art on a higher level. Performing music has been a driving force in Smalls life and he currently sings in two ensembles, the Winthrop Chorale and the Chamber Singers.
How would you describe your relationship with art?
I have always been a maker. I love putting together found objects and altering others. I used to heat up candles and make things out of the wax. Now I get to make lost wax castings. I also use Rhino which is a digital modeling program. I see jewelry as small-scale sculpture. I take a conceptual idea and engineer it into an object that may or may not be intended to wear. I am inspired by non western and ancient civilizations. Architecture and body adornment fascinates me. I believe the body was the first canvas with tattoos and piercings.
What are your dreams and goals?
I have always liked fashion and I like making objects from my own designs. I would love to manufacture under my own name. To have my own brand using my aesthetic ideas is my ultimate goal. I would like to pursue an MFA at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia because they are the leading force in Computer Aided Design Program, using CAD CAM. I use SLS or Selective Laser Sensoring to digitally model objects. My teacher Courtney Starrett earned her MFA from this school and studied under Stanley Letsum.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Alexander Caldwell. I am attracted to his aesthetic of textiles and rhythm of weaving.
What is your favorite music?
Classical and the darker the better. I sing BASS 2 so I have a better correlation to low.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From Mayan culture, old wooden shields, fabric and textiles, bed, coffins, African blown glass beads, and more.
Fifth Element, especially the opera singing. I love the drama of it.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Charles Dale Bridges, better known to friends as just Dale grew up in Dacusville, South Carolina. Born on May 30, 1991 is currently attending Winthrop University scheduled to graduate in May with a BFA in Photography. His focus is color portraits taken in studio on Fuji instant black and white 120mm film exploring interest in fashion that capture a sense of the person. Senior series will be composed of a series of Albumen prints from large format 4′ x 5′ sheet film exploring classical photography, fabric, and symbolic purpose of water in our culture.
- What are you trying to convey in your work? All of my work attempts to strike an emotional chord and comes across as sensual regardless of subject matter. I greatly admire the beauty and fluidity of the human body and light. I acquire my motivation for my work through imagery from nature. My work on a whole is very feminine. I focus on color temperature, lighting, and composition.
- What are Albumen prints? It is a very old process, invented by Loius Desire Blanquart-Evvrard, combined egg whites with photographic chemicals on paper.
- What is the key to capturing a “sense of a person”? It is a process of discovering what a person has to share.
- What is the symbolic feature of water in history, in our time, as related to women/ femininity? Water relates to women as in birth. I use fluid fabrics as metaphors for water in my work.
- What is the role of sensuality in your work? Portraits are very vulnerable situations in their moments. I try to form a quick connection with the models that I shoot so I can meet them halfway.
- What is relationship between human body and light in your work? Ethereal and ghostly imagery. Letting elements blend together.
- What fabrics do you use to convey watery feeling? Tool. Lots and lots of tool.
- Favorite quote? “Not everyone can be a model that’s why there a lot of pretty girls waiting tables.” – Karl Largarfeld. A person needs a strong history of experiences and willingness to share them to be vulnerable because photography is a true medium.
- Biggest artistic influence? Julia Margaret Cameron as well as Cinematography as a whole.
- Plans after graduation? I am currently interning for a commercial photographer in Charlotte; Mike Carroll whose work I greatly respect. This is helping me focus on sharpening the commercial side of my technique.
- What teachers have helped mold you into the artist you are today? Martyka has pushed me to think more critically about my work, Hamilton has been very influential for his profound advice, and Phil Moody for teaching me playful exploration.