M.F.A. Thesis Indiana University Domestic Ornamentum
This installation concentrates on themes of ornament* in the domestic realm. The circumstances of this setting are unfortunate for the diners: The chairs have been violently rendered useless, an anvil hangs precariously over the guest of honor, blowgun candlesticks grace the table, and dueling pistols face off over the tureen. While these items exude a sense of the absurd, they are ironically mixed with the presentation of finely crafted, even delicate, pieces of dinnerware that serve a duality of purpose and present a blend of metal, ceramic, and porcelain artisanship.
The content of my work arises from an interest in the juxtaposition of puns, translations, irony, and duality. I find these qualities provocative and challenging or witty and playful portrayed through identifiable objects. My obsession with redefining the recognizable in my art is frequently a direct expression of my observations or experiences that communicates as appealing, stimulating, and sometimes humorous.
My artwork exhibits vast methods of construction that incorporate metalsmithing and ceramics. The materials and techniques I use are determined by conceptual needs of the piece. The freedom to transform found objects through the process of slip casting porcelain has expanded my ability to create three-dimensional art. For Domestic Ornamentum I have chosen to work primarily in porcelain, copper, and sterling silver. These materials can be found in traditional formal dining sets and reinforce the contrast of fragility and abrasiveness found in the piece.
The intended end result of this work is to provide the viewer with entertainment and a lighthearted commentary on the absurdity of confrontation, a la Spy v. Spy.
“The word ornament is rooted in the Latin ‘ornamentum’, meaning; equipment, trappings, embellishment. Ornament’s original function was understood to exceed mere decoration and to serve as a way of equipping a person for ceremony or battle.”
- Protective Ornament: Dressed for Defense,
Metalsmith Magazine. Spring 2005. By Suzanne Ramljak