Realization, Ceramic, 21 x 15 x 19 in., 2018
Humans left Africa to circle the Globe looking for food, family, and opportunity. We have looked to the heavens for answers—moral and scientific. We have asked Mother Nature to make us strong, keep us healthy, and nourish our souls with the richness of our home planet’s diversity. We have created Civic Societies to build strength through unity, protect us from danger, and enable us to stay free.
Every generation asks: Who are we? What does it means to be human? Half a millennium ago it was “Is the Earth round?” We answered by creating global empires, world wars, advanced civilizations, and a global economy. We also exploited, ravished, and robbed. As a result, species are disappearing at a cataclysmic rate, our home is suffocating in unfathomable pollution, and unheard of intra/interspecies discord is threatening to drown out reasonable discourse to find solutions.
We are at the beginning of a new millennium. It is time again to ask ourselves: Who are we? What will we do? Who will we become? We believe that humans are the only species in the Universe that can ask for all known life: Who are we?
The question we face when we answer is—Do we answer for all or only our own tribe. We know we’re all humans, cut from the same cloth, but do we have a universal set of values, perceived responsibilities, a common understanding of what it is to be human? And an ability to join together, globally or will we remain tribal?
Every species on planet Earth is racing to keep up with the changes be they climatic, technological, or man made. Will humans help all species? Will we care for strangers? Take responsibility? Or will we seek the gelt? Personal fame and riches for our own and leave the rest to rot?
We fret, we worry, we fear, we wonder? Which emotions will drive us? What values will define us? What paths will we take? Will we stand together? Will we continue to explore the unknown, seeking answers to better understand our world?
Or are we going retreat to our tribal caves? Use our gifts or squander for self-aggrandizement? We’re up to our necks in it. What will we do? Who are we? Who will we be? We all wonder. We all hope.
My ceramic installation uses broad strokes, bold shapes, rich texture to create the form, but more importantly expose the figure’s character. Gesture, posturing, and larger-than-life scale help provide insight on inner emotions and outer truths with the goal of bringing both power and vulnerability to the work. As viewers bring their experiences and emotions to their reactions to my painting, I seek to illicit an intuitive response from the viewer before they turn to a refined, analytical assessment.
Photo series credit | Scott McCue, Leslie Plato Smith