Constance McBride, figurative clay, powdered graphite burnish

My practice is inspired by the human form. The way time marks our bodies and my evolving emotions concerning this are what drive the direction of it. I’ve been meditating for some time now on change and loss. Pieces consist of fragmented parts, a metaphor for lack of power and control and, symbolic of the incomplete. Crumpled and stacked partial figures are in ruins, yet still exist. While fragility exists, there is still the tenacity to survive. As strong as the will is though, at some point we need to embrace the final chapters. When confronted with the sight of the aging and dying, I try to look past fear and highlight the beauty in the ephemerality of living. I am thinking about layers while investigating the changes our bodies experience over time; layers of relationships we develop and discard and layers of lore ancestors leave behind for us to ponder.

We continue to add strata upon strata to our lives. The bits we leave behind continue to tell our story and while others may misinterpret recollections, these then become the story. In the end, the actual story doesn’t really matter to me. What does matter to me is that we are remembered as living beings and that death is thought of as a completion of a life well lived; not as a failure to survive on earth.

The burnish is powdered graphite applied after the pieces are fired. I just love how it seems to add more depth to the pieces.

Constance McBride creates ceramic figures to punctuate the complexity of the human drama. Her sculptures explore difficult issues related to aging and mortality. Her primary medium is clay. Inspired by landscape and the natural world, her work is most recently characterized by her use of dry surface treatments and her sculpting method to create contorted forms rather than images of perfection. A native of Philadelphia, PA, McBride relocated from the East Coast to the Southwest in 2002 and resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

She received a Bachelor of Arts from Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Her work is featured in the international platform Ceramics Now and the publication Paperclay Art and Practice by Rosette Gault. Most recently, her work was displayed in the inaugural ClayHouston Biennial in TX and in the Clay Studio National in PA. Notably McBride has exhibited her work at Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art in AZ, San Angelo Museum of Art in TX and in”?Beyond The Brickyard”, an international exhibition held each year at Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in MT. In 2015, Phoenix New Times named her solo exhibition “Place out of Time” one of the 10 best art shows in the Phoenix Metro Area. In 2016, McBride received an Emerging Artist Grant from Contemporary Forum; a support organization for the Phoenix Art Museum.
Constance McBride
July 2, 2016

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