Mary Anne Davis

Lately I have been working on large chargers. Since I am committed to function, these are a bit edgy. They could function but they are also works of art which I hope will bring the viewer/user to pause and think about eating on art. My work is about integrating art into life and as such I have been making dinnerware for 10 years. Trained in ceramics and sculpture, I love the razors’ edge between form and function. The irreverent quality of using art, of life coming first, of art serving life. I hope my work empowers the user to take liberties with authority, to question what is proper and to establish new definitions about what art is.

A 10 year exploration of dots has forced me to think of them as all kinds of metaphors. Born of an interest in essentializing my need to work with pattern and color, I was also inspired by the Aboriginal art of the Australian outback. Something about the dreaming. So the dot has been dominant on my work for a very long time. Dots represent populations, a cross section of a plant stem in a botanic study, galaxies and the cosmos. Dots can also serve as metaphors for relationships, people, environments, anything really. I leave their interpretation intentionally ambiguous.

Artist statement 5/11/09

Integrating art into life is my passion. My work in ceramics is like a laboratory where I work with color and pattern and function to explore ways in which art might interact more intimately in individual lives through the sharing of meals. As a spiritual discipline, art becomes a reverential and connecting foundation for layering social interaction that begets deepening of relationships. My work is about relationships and how we affect one another. Sometimes through metaphor and at other times in fact, through discourse.

I argue that all art functions. Whether it is an inspiration, a social comment and therefore pedagogic, a means of deepening an observation or to stir up controversy and open thinking; all of these purposes are functions. It is simple to extrapolate, why not use it!? Carl Andre’s revolutionary lead tiles invite you to walk on them. If art is a perpetual conversation from one generation to the next then it is in keeping with prior discoveries to further push the boundaries of what art is. I argue that art is what you make it. Dinner plates, handmade in collaboration with an end user are works of art because I say so. The purpose of my art is to discuss and relate, to deepen the thread of human relationship and open cultural evolution. Ambitious? I hope so. Because ambition has in it the boldness to grow, to continue to excite and to inspire.

Relationships, function and integration. These are the areas I have been working on and will continue to work on.

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