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Robert Chamberlin

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

Harnessing the tools of a cake decorator, I replace frosting with a porcelain slip. The opulence of ornate cakes influenced me from an early age. The history of slip trailing and decoration instantly connected me to tools I watched my mother use as a child. The softness retained by the clay draws the viewer closer and closer to its surface only to reveal its sharp exterior. These pieces are both dangerous and in danger. They will shatter if you handle them indelicately, and yet the vase can slice you open if you approach hastily. The work uses this balance of beauty and danger as a vehicle to talk about desire, queerness, and failure.

Most recently, I am experimenting with the gesture of a collapse. By layering simple decorative gestures over and over, the vessel often flirts on the precipice of collapse. And sometimes, I push past it. As history tends to repeat itself I am left to wonder how much can we take before our own eventual collapse begins.

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