Martin McWilliam is an artist based in Hatten, Germany who chisels sculptures out of fired ceramic. This year he has been selected to participate in the NVK Triënnale in the Netherlands as well as in the International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art, in Italy. McWilliam takes a unique reductive approach to ceramic sculpture by designing the deconstruction of his massive objects.
Above image: Martin McWilliam, Cored, 56 x 56 x 8 cm
The process McWilliam uses to create his work is a planned excavation. The solid chucks of clay are formed, scored with a design, and fired. “Prepared surfaces are struck off after the firing with a hammer and a chisel to reveal an archeological looking core,” McWilliam explains on his website. His process reveals images of pottery as well as abstract geometric patterns.
His process is like a dark proactive civilization, designing their own discovery by future cultures. His objects are apocalyptic death notes. The iconic images are more brilliant than they first appear, depicting simple pictures of pottery, a basic human tool with a universal message. This icon is a hopeful commonality to the discovering future culture, a clue saying – “We are the same.” This unsuspecting consideration for future communication is also seen in the use of dense material to preserve his message. They make us wonder if McWilliam and ancient cultures were both writing to the future or simply to their contemporaries.
McWilliam’s making process gives him two exhilarating experiences lived vicariously through the viewer. His first experience is creative manifestation followed by the excitement of exploration and discovery. It is a playful performance of an anthropological process that typically takes thousands of years and millions of people condensed into just a few weeks by a human with god-like powers.
Justin Crowe is Writer-at-Large for CFile.
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