Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tricia Cline

Tricia Cline
Tricia Cline is a self-taught artist. She works mostly with porcelain in order to create incredible sculptures. She has been making these sculptures since 1984. She mostly works with the subject matter of women and animals. I think she is an amazing artist because she has had no formal training or education and creates very moving pieces that make her viewer have to stop and think about her messages.

Cline did the sculpture Hazelra in 2008. This is from her exhibit called Animals. Her choice for this sculpture was using porcelain and oil paint to create the color on top of the porcelain. This piece is about one foot tall, ten inches long, and seven inches wide; it is pretty close, maybe a little bit smaller, than an actual jack rabbit. The color, however, is the most exciting thing about this piece. The burnt orange immediately jumps out at you. The sculpture is extremely detailed. I think that if you were there, seeing this in real life instead of in a picture, it would seem as if there was a real animal sitting atop of an ornamental bench: it is almost as if she sculpted each and every hair that was on this animal. She also seemed to exaggerate some of the features of the animal itself. But back to the presentation, one has to question why she put the rabbit on this extremely detailed piece that she probably sculpted as well. The colors go together really well; the reds are muted making the brighter orange stand out. It is almost as if the rabbit is royalty on that pedestal.

This is a piece, as you can see, has three parts to it. They are from her exhibit called Grey Series. Straddling the Fjord parts I, II, and III were all done in 2002 in porcelain. They are all the same exact size, same color, and you can tell it is essentially the same person just in different positions. The body language and the use of the eyes, lips, brows, and angle of the body feel as if it explains a story. In Straddling the Fjord I, she seems to be tense; although the arms are in the same, but opposite, angles of the other two, they seem much stiffer. Her eyes are wide and her mouth is tense. She almost looks as though she is frightened. In Straddling the Fjord II, her eyes, mouth, and hands are much more relaxed than that of the first one. In Straddling the Fjord III, her hands are completely relaxed compared to the other two. Her eyes are soft, and her lips are smiling; her body is leaning forward as if the thing she was so afraid of in the beginning is now her dear friend she longs for.  The skeleton like figures on the bottom have great linear qualities and are representative of skirts on the women. I am not sure what her intention of leaving them so open was, but one can tell that there was a definite purpose; they continue with the curvilinear and biological aspects of the body and make the linear aspects of the bottom seem bendable because they change with the angle of the body. This is definitely a piece that makes her viewer question each and every aspect, and I wish I could talk with her and ask her what her thought process was on these pieces.

Ganesh Rides Pervader was done in 2006 and was in her exhibit called Exiles in Lower Utopia. The title of this exhibit itself is something to think about as well; Exile is the expulsion from one’s own native land by force, and Utopia is the perfect place or no place. So these objects/sculptures she has created may be going through a journey of being exiled from our perfect world. This is one of my favorite sculptures that Cline has done. It is again in porcelain. She is taking three well-known animals out of proportion and adding an element of fantasy. Two of the animals, an elephant and a human being, have been sort of fused together; the head of an elephant replaces the head of the human, yet somehow it feels so right and proportionate. And it is either the horse or the human/elephant that is out of proportion; the human/elephant is riding the horse and that either makes the horse look really giant or the human/elephant appear really small; maybe it is a mixture of both! The horse’s right front leg has also turned into a stick; it appears to have started out as a help that its leg needed, but his leg has now become that object. I just love the fantastical elements that Cline brought into this sculpture, and again, I wish I could talk to her personally and figure out why she portrayed these characters in this position on their journey.

I hope you enjoyed Tricia Cline’s work as much as I did; I think she is a great activist for women and animal rights and does it in a questioning and beautiful way.

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