FORM AND FIRE: THE CERAMIC SCULPTURE OF ELAINE GRENIER
Elaine Grenier’s current investigation of form explores the idea of smallness—forms overlooked or invisible to our eyes because of their size, forms taken for granted because they are so common in our daily lives. She begins by examining specific natural elements as small as cells and seeds then extracts perceived patterns of formation and growth, transforms scale, detail and texture, and elaborates on their unique structures and geometries.
Her hand-forming process adapts ancient ceramic techniques to the creation of modern sculptural objects. Clay coils and slabs are assembled and worked to produce rigorous handmade shapes that are both abstract and precise interpretations of observed natural process rather than direct copies of natural form.
Then the alchemy of chemistry and heat. The pieces are fired multiple times using primitive firing methods that employ both natural and manmade materials—sometimes the same material on which the forms are based—to promote chance interactions between form and fire. She buries the sculpted forms in combustible fuels and chemicals, ignites the mix and allows it to burn until all of the fuel is spent. This technique produces unique pigmentation and surface pattern, unusual visual effects that complement or contrast with the sculptural shapes creating aesthetic cohesion or tension in the finished work.
Elaine Grenier has worked in clay for over 30 years and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA, in 1999. She currently lives and works in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.