Through sculpture and installation, Homer artist Cynthia Morelli explores intensity and quiet, vulnerability and tenderness of day to day intimacy with clay.
“In my works on paper and with clay, I am investigating vigorous energy, and what might be conveyed through work made using that energy. When I invest myself, barriers of self consciousness, doubt and defensiveness drop away. I become brave and playful, and can follow where the marks and developing form lead me with absolute trust. If I embrace that trust, my vulnerability is exposed, raw and open. My work is about vulnerability. It is personal and intimate. My work is about trust. From my close up engagement it is very difficult for me to gain enough distance to extract what motivates me to make work from what the work might convey.
Moving clay gesturally nurtures my need to wander, explore and see what is happening along the way. It is how I meander, sometimes run, then stop to admire something my hands and eyes discover. I love trying something so I can see what it looks like, use grasses as lines, use metal guitar strings to make lines, bolt clay parts together to suspend clay in gravity defying space, still connected, supported.
My work often brings associations to mind that are metaphors for the human condition and our physical beings. For example, by using porcelain sheltered by coarse stoneware, it evokes vulnerability that gently nests in a protective coating, much as our internal organs, our soft viscera are held in suspension in the cavity of our skeletal structure of ribs, shoulders, pelvis and spine. Though abstracted to an extreme, my work, made of bones/structural elements and skin often strikes me as figurative.
Working within this small stature female body, I search for a definition of female in my sculpture and drawings that is raw, impulsive, explosive and exuberant; formidable enough to survive, thrive and be playful. I wish my work to convey joy, fear, doubt, courage and all the beauty that allows ourselves as humans to express our full spectrum of feelings with strength, softness and tenderness.
There is ambiguity – someone might see drum, vertebrae or galvanized trash can lid all in one clay object, and I take that piece, put holes in it and push bundles of grasses through the holes. The piece becomes similar to a drawing to me, making lines of grasses reach out into space, activating that negative space and circumference around the clay object like I search the paper with graphite. To my eyes, audaciously, the piece takes up more space, becomes bigger and is suddenly even more visible, more vulnerable and at the same time, defies containment.”