Patrick Siler has worked with large scale ceramics, including ceramic walls and obelisks, since the early 1960s when he trained and worked with Peter Voulkos at the University of California, Berkeley. Since then, he has experimented with introducing imagery to clay, but has also worked in painting on canvas as well, albeit on a large scale.
The three ceramic pipes I am submitting to this show have allowed me to combine two of my greatest expressive passions: large scale ceramics and large format paintings.
These pipes were part of a project undertaken for a residency with Mission Clay Products of Phoenix, Arizona. Working with these pipes has enabled me to put large paintings on large standing clay forms, industrial sewer pipes produced by Mission Clay. Each pipe is 88” X 24” diameter and the final product is fired clay with both underglazes and glazes. Although Mission Clay Products Company has had a several decades history of interfacing with artists, its subsidiary company, Building Products Company, had never used glazes, slips, or underglaze preparations on their clay pipes. This whole project was an experiment for the company as well as for me.
At a superficial level, the two house pieces, “The Unfolding Drama of the Blue Roofed House” and “The Amber House” depict ordinary folks going through the micro-dramas of their ordinary lives. However, beneath the surface, much more is going on. In previous works, I had emphasized the formal arrangement of elements in my pieces, and that seemed to satisfy me. I also have presented my subject with a rather droll genre-like twist. Reviewers have always noted the slight element of humor in my work. But in these pieces, a somewhat more serious current flows beneath the surface features of drollness and humor.
My family and I have a great love of sea creatures, especially threatened ones — sea turtles, whales, and sea horses. The third piece combines endangered sea turtles in a free form composition with humans. All three pipes, due to their form, allow the viewers to develop 360 degrees of perspective and form their own narratives about the characters and subject matters.