Andrea Leila Denecke – Ceramic Artist:
My work comprises three different styles in that I make sculptural forms, purely functional porcelain and stoneware vessels and also hybrid vessels which incorporate some of my handbuilt sculptural sensibilities and techniques to create functional forms, some of which reference indigenous architecture. The elusive and enigmatic communications of form have been the focus of my work. I create objects which may evoke memory responses or instill a meditative state based on various stimuli which have influenced me. These range from my appreciation of the beauty of the cosmos to my empathy for the Zen rock gardens of Japan. In my sculpture I have chosen to work with abstract minimal forms which have a simplicity and similarity about them and can also elicit a sense of strength and timelessness.
I have been strongly influenced by my regard for the Japanese aesthetic, especially in respect to Zen gardens, vernacular architecture and pottery. I am striving to create objects of contemplation which I hope will elicit sensitive and evocative images in the viewer. The various referential images include archaic relics (tools of primitive cultures such as axeheads and arrowheads), megaliths, architectonic forms, ancient bronze bells, jade blades, etc.
The enigmatic nature of these forms involves not only the physical characteristics of ‘what they are’, but also includes the sensuousness and presence which they project. In this regard, these forms are dealing with a kind of spirituality and transcendence of time. Many dichotomies exist side by side in these pieces. They refer to the human figure and yet are abstract minimal forms. They hark back to a kind of primitivism and also speak of modern times. There is a megalithic quality about them (with an implied weight) and yet they elicit an uplifting sense. Scale is ambiguous in that they could appear to be larger than life, but are actually quite an accessible size.
In reaction to the raucousness of contemporary society, I seek to provide an island of tranquility and grace for the beholder to contemplate. A return to nature in a unnatural way, as the Zen garden, skillfully articulated, speaks of a kind of universality of nature and humanity. By referring to relics of ancient cultures, I hope to make the viewer aware of our own existence in time and how we relate to the past. We are but an insignificant part of the whole, and as such we must bear in mind our responsibility to humankind by preserving our earth, atmosphere and cultural heritage.