Kyla Toomey | LUX Center for the Arts | Art Gallery, Classes, Summer Camps & Outreach

Kyla Toomey

Kyla Toomey

Profile Location
Waltham , MA
Artist Statement

Associations derived from my work spark considerations regarding processed material and interactions with it. Fabric, architecture, and furniture are all things that are fabricated for and by people. The common space between these objects and my work is that it is material being manipulated for its use value. Fabric, much like clay in its wet stage, is plastic, soft, and conforming. The lines I make in the clay are akin to the lines formed when sewing two pieces of fabric together. The pressure applied against the surface of clay is like the application of a button that holds the fabric of an upholstered chair, because the materials are alike. It's like skin—soft and elastic, alive—covering rigid and structural bones. So much is connected to these relationships of hard and soft, structure and comfort, interior and exterior that I regard them as fundamental.

My work is an investigation of surface within prescribed spaces. Dividing a field, quartering off sections, imposing lines, creating shapes within shapes, and allowing for smaller areas to emerge and attend to. I create layers based on grids, allowing for the association with materials and objects and creating visual structure. The position of a line defines the gesture of an object; the lines, straight and angular, the clay, soft and wet. The clay yields, creating curves, softening the lines within the grid, and allowing for volume and depth within the surface. I throw pots, which are blanks made for alterations that differentiate and create identity, enabling a subtlety of variation. Variation is the possibility of production with meaning. In making, I want to keep making, turning things out quickly and efficiently. I've furthered my investigation of space within the constraints I've imposed; unraveling the thrown forms and allowing them to become panels, repeating across surfaces and within the individual object, expanding the field and allowing the textures to be experienced on a larger scale.

Making pots is about production and interaction. The repetitive actions of making, the stacks that form and grow in the studio, seeing the way bowls nest within each other, chattering up the grouping, picking up one plate to reveal the one beneath, and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies the piles. I love the size of pots, the accessibility of the objects and the interaction it invites. I invest so much of myself interacting with the surface pushing, pulling, and carefully forcing movement of the material, that this effort seems futile to me if the objects cannot be physically engaged.


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