Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Oberon" - Stage I

These are some pictures of the first stage of a new commission piece for Dave Voisinet. He wants a 2 foot horned owl cast in bronze to adorn the top of a post on his fence. The piece is meant to be viewed from his faux Victorian solarium. My intent with this piece is to thematically reference Oberon, the King of the fairies, from Merovingian myth and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. His name is also spelled "Auberon" which I thought would fit thematically with the avian nature of the piece. My use of this reference with an owl comes I think from the association of owls with the night as well as dreams and portents. Owls in many aboriginal cultures are the heralds of visions and change. Much as Oberon rules the passions and dreams of those who fall into his perview. I have started with a basic ecorchet and I will gradually add muscle, flesh and feathers. As always when I start a new project I'm full of butterflies...can I do it? I know I will but there is always that slight nagging fear you might fail this time...
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Manifest Destiny - Final Piece

Manifest Destiny
Press-molded stone-ware & 8 Shinos
J. Cody Kroll - 2011

Manifest Destiny is the title of this work that consists of fifty-one wall mounted ceramic skull masks. Fifty masks are juxtaposed by a single mask separated from the grouping. I view the skull as a repository of knowledge, a vessel of sorts. Iconographically skulls are not unique. Historically all human societies have both revered and reviled them. Viewed as symbol they represent the shared mortality of all humanity. We as human beings share the same physiological foundations and origins. Once the flesh is stripped from our bones and the life from our bodies, reduced to our universal elements, we expose the irony of the belief that one group is inherently more favored than another by the divine.
My goal in this work is to create a stark visual icon that imparts both individual humanity and the conceptual foundations of Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny was a phrase which invoked the idea of divine sanction for the territorial expansion of the United States. It first appeared in print in 1845, in the July-August issue of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review. The anonymous author, thought to be its editor John L. O'Sullivan, proclaimed "our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions." In essence the concept of Manifest Destiny is the superiority of one group over another justified by divine right.
Each of the masks in this work are high-fired to cone 10 in a reduction atmosphere and glazed using eight different shino recipes I developed through experimentation. I use these shino variations to create individualized tribal patterning on the masks in the primary grouping, reminiscent of Native American body decoration. The grouping is glazed and arranged in such a way as to evoke the tones and patterns of an American flag. The single mask juxtaposed to the grouping is also glazed with various shinos, as well as gosu slip, to create another variation of an American flag. Our national quest for westward expansion, the perpetual frontier, came at a shared cost of blood and treasure to all involved. The concept of Manifest Destiny is one of the foundations of our national legacy and ultimately our nation's responsibility. My intent is not to define duality or to critique it but to challenge on an instinctive level the conceptual cause and effect of predestination.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Manifest Destiny-glazing phase 1

Well, I'm deep in the weeds in the next phase of this piece. All the glaze has been applied and its just a matter of carefully packing them up and finding enough high-fire kilns to fire them in a timely fashion. I'm trying to get them done by June 20 something to get pictures for applying to the historically themed show at Genesee Pottery. The application deadline in June 26th but the show isn't until September. We will see if it gets in...wish me luck.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Manifest Destiny III

Here are a few pictures of the next phase of this piece. I'm in the process of glazing the masks with 6-8 different shino recipes I've been experimenting with. These photos give one possible horizontal composition...I might also use a more vertical composition, depending on where I show this piece. Lots of work left to do...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


TaaDaa!!! Here are a few quick images of the finished Dios de los Muertos skull commission. It came out even better than I hoped...sweet.
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