“…Pandra Williams has shaped 11,000 pounds of Atlanta clay into adobe blocks and built a hillock reminiscent of ancient tombs…”
Jessica Marshall E., Michael and I made 12,500 pounds of adobe bricks for the Urban Tumulus installation this past July. Earth, sand, straw, water. Each air-dried brick measures 5 inches by 10 inches by 16 inches, and weighs 50 pounds. I don’t know how heavy they were when they were wet and newly unmolded. We made 250 bricks. The weather was damnably hot, bright, and dry, the hottest week of the summer, with temperatures ranging from 98 to 103 degrees. Making adobe is brutal physical labor, each day we needed to make between 35 -45 bricks. At the end of each day we were trashed. All of us who were involved with the project have a deep appreciation for the labor that goes into building an adobe dwelling.
Wrapped in a sweeping coat of compost, Urban Tumulus is a process in existence. Its mass is substantial and gives it a presence that wants embracing. Drawn to the internal womb I find it welcoming and comforting. Once inside it is safe and hard to leave but never the least bit claustrophobic. (more…)
Soil. The Urban Tumulus is about soil. Soil is under our feet. We depend upon it, we ignore it, we don’t see it. All of our food comes from soil. All of us return to soil. The soil of Urban Tumulus addresses the viewer.
Behind the scenes as we build Urban Tumulus
My installation work is an intercession of the corporeal.
A Natural History diorama creates a loss of viewer interaction. Nature is preserved and glassed in. The viewer is only that: a bystander, not a participant. In this position, the viewer cannot catch the glassed in, formaldehyde-pickled frog between his/her hands, cannot feel the muscular squirm of a live frog as it tries to flee, smell its viscous yet delicate skin, peer at the bronze filigree in it’s iris. There is a veil of glass, poison and death between the viewer and the once live frog. The diorama or simulacra, while easily kept, is a replacement for visceral reality, the interaction between subjects in time and space within a dimensional environment (without glass). The diorama creates a layer of distance, of abstraction between the viewer and the subject.
The Venere Series sculptures reference animal, human and floral forms. The forms create intrigue by co-mingling alien floral and animal forms with more familiar references to human anatomy. Venere brings up the associative powers of each reference while pitting them against each other in a tug of war for possible meaning.
“It was a good year for women and ceramics …”