Thesis Exhibition

Statement of Intent:

My work has always revolved around the Earth we live on and my family’s spiritual beliefs I was taught as a kid. I follow teachings from elders in my family and tribe. What I have learned comes from different Native American tribes and religions, but all values are universal. It is this idea, universality, that brings me to my love of landscapes. People from all over the world can identify with the pleasure of seeing the world around us. The work I create is not usually specific to one place, but is more of a generalized picture of the a natural scene. The work that will be shown in this semester’s thesis show was born from being outside in one of my favorite places. Sitting on the ledges at the low falls in High Falls, New York, one can see layers of siltstone, grey alternating with white and in a few layers, tiny specks of glittering pyrite (fool’s gold). To recreate a beauty that most people do not even notice, I will be creating lava glaze panels, two feet in length, about ten to twelve inches high, and only an inch deep. Each panel will have a different focal point, luster, gradients, or crystals. I am playing with the ideas of preciousness of the landscape and its resources, micro and macro views, geological strata, and core samples. To achieve this, I am building large boxes that will be filled with lava glaze. I am working with the New Paltz geology department and their rock saw to “treat the ceramic as rock” and cut “slides” out of each box. There will be around nine to twelve panels made this way, with alterations happening after the cuts have been made.


The  images above illustrate the process of making the tiles that I used for the show. Starting with dry materials (upper left corner) I had to sieve every batch that I made. Hence the reason for me sitting in the spray booth, I made a lot of dust. The dry material was then poured into bisque-fired ceramic boxes, and fired again to about 2200 degrees fahrenheit. After the boxes were taken out of the kiln, I brought them to the SUNY New Paltz Geology Department to have them cut on the rock saw. All sawing was done by Don Hodder. The cuts would range from large cubes, as seen on the bottom left to thin slices, as seen on the bottom right. I also cut many, many tiles on the Ceramic Department’s tile saw. This took the majority of my time.

The next part of the creation of my thesis was to layout all of the ceramic tiles that I had cut from solid glaze and create the rock formations that I had been studying. I used two plexiglass panels as the backing, and used silicone sealant to attach my tiles to the smooth surface. One panel comprised of the tiles, powdered fill used to hide the spaces in between the tiles, and gold leafing. The other panel is encrusted with borax crystals and the tiles. They both represent the richness and beauty of the area I grew up in, as well as the things that humanity puts value on.


The view of the installation as a whole.


“Core Panel 1”


“Core Panel 2”

JFogden*5 JFogden*6


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