Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

Reflections on the Ceramic Works Of: Dong Hee Suh

Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

Reflections on the Ceramic Works Of: Dong Hee Suh

Article excerpt

OTHERS HAVE WRITTEN AT SOME LENGTH ABOUT DONG Hee Suh's use of her art as her personal vehicle for expressing biblical imagery. This is also interesting from the perspective of art history, as clay has its own voice which is intrinsically tied to the mysteries of nature that are the foundation of ancient religions. The use of clay in religious imagery has been found as far back as the Paleolithic era. Clay images originally thought to be child-like scribbles but now believed to be shamanic symbols, can be seen in the caves at Lascaux and Altamira. Clay was the medium used for Venus figures such as the Venus of Willendorf and the Venus of Dolni Vestonice, portable representations of the mother/goddess figure. The innate human urge for expression and the need to understand the inexplicable aspects of nature and being, fostered early beliefs which often found their representation in clay.

In this way, Suh is part of a long and ancient tradition, superbly using her art to communicate her faith. She also, however, explores new and individual uses of clay as an inventive and personal exploration of the medium. Highly educated with a doctorate, her work is skilled in processes and materials that compare to any period of ceramics, ancient or present. This knowledge gives her the freedom to accomplish her art with a sophisticated skill that reflects her material knowledge as well as her place in an international world of clay art. Perhaps no other medium in the contemporary art world has gone through such an invigorating and exploding reincarnation into the fine art world as have ceramics. Sometimes called "The Clay Revolution", ceramics has arrived at a level that is competitive with painting and sculpture throughout the ages. Still, there are those who desperately try to prevent clay from being a fine art material. …

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