Craig Clifford Artist Statement
As an artist I am interested in where high and low culture intersects and how images carry meaning within a society that consumes a huge amount of visual information. My creative practice is an exercise in the transformation of common objects and an investigation into how context, expectation and gaze affect our experience with the things we live with. I use the technique of casting to transform found objects and forms into rich tableaus that use color and texture to alter the perception of space and draw the viewer into a complex experience.
My pieces are made by the assemblage of hundreds of press molded, kitsch forms to create texture that at first glance seems to be a mere surface but then draws the viewer in with slices of recognizable imagery. I could use anything to create texture, but choose to use the trite, sentimentalized images that come from commercial plaster molds. In fine art, ceramics is often considered low art and within ceramics commercial molds are the lowest form of clay as they require no skill or creativity and represent images and clichés as crass novelty items. I transform these hollow, commercial reproductions of ‘art’ to create my work. The forms themselves are cast from found objects like refined teacups and serving pieces from cast off china sets. For myself, these objects are images of refinement and wealth and act as a contrast to the surface imagery.
The pieces show themselves in layers of information that take time to reveal themselves to the viewer. I utilize color as another layer for the work, both hiding and accenting the texture and form. I work in assemblage and use material culture to create works that recontextualize the familiar until it is transformed and unrecognizable.