Mark Chatterley taps into your subconscious and creats an artistic dreamworld filled with floating figures and romantic hues, all while using clay as his unlikely medium.
Clay Art Center has brought those fantastical themes to reality this month with a showcase of his collection, Clay Dreams. Since its April 9 opening reception, the show have debuted as both an epitome of beauty and inspiration of technique for fellow clay-workers.
Life-like human bodies dance, touch and even fly through the gallery, evoking qualities of life powerful enough to satisfy any viewers’ appetite for self-expression and interpretation.
“Life, death, creation and destruction, this is the world I find myself in. I want my art to echo these thoughts, everything in a state of flux, changing and reforming,” said Chatterley of his work.
That kind of abstract thought can be seen through the stoneware piece, “Cosmo Head,” depicting an otherwise conventional body topped with psychedelic swirls in place of a face.
From an artist’s point of view, the uneven texture found throughout the collection creates a look pretty uncharacteristic of most ceramics styles.
Pottery teacher Heather Houston pointed out that the crater-like appearance of the outer shell “would be considered a defect if you were making pottery, but in this case it makes the [figure] look ancient—like an artifact.”
Other works, like “Dirty Dancing,” and “Kiss” tout more emphatic emotions. Alluding to the metaphor that compares two in love to equal one whole being, two figures are gazing into each other’s eyes with bodies literally intertwined—seeming almost to appear as a lovelorn two-headed snake.
“The feeling hits something, and [the result] and the human interaction between two people is in a dream theme [suggesting] things that are not quite possible,” added artist-in-residency, Andrew Coombs.
Port Chester natives aren’t the only ones smitten with Chatterley’s sentimental resonance.
Signature tones by the Michigan artist have earned him over twenty awards from around the world, including venues like the Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award in Auckland, New Zealand, the Taiwan Golden Ceramics Award in Taipei.
He was also a participant in a JINRO International Ceramic Art (JICA) Workshop Invitational at the Hong-ik Ceramic Research Institute in Seoul, Korea.
According to Program Director Leigh Mickelson, Clay Dreams has made an impression on collectors in its short time on display, with half the work sold for $23,000 in just 10 days.
The showcase will on display at Clay Art Center (40 Beech St., Port Chester) until May 7. Visit www.clayartcenter.org for more information.