Tidemark Artist Statement
2 Feb 2008
The inspiration for Tidemark was drawn from my strong personal experiences at the beach. These ceramic sculptures symbolise forms found in the tidal zone along the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Exhibited at the Cooloola Shire Public Gallery, Gympie 2008. Assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
This body of work was informed by some research and thinking I was doing at the time about a weathered surface. In contrast to the predominant ceramic aesthetic, favoring a fine white surface, I became attracted to the weathered, the worn and the stained. As seawater and sand do much ‘marking’, I spent time during the development of this work experimenting with ceramic oxides and clay bodies that would convey this idea of staining.
Tidemark is also concerned with the reality of environmental change and rising sea levels. I was taken by how the way marks made on marine rocks by people many generations ago are now being used retrospectively to establish and monitor sea water benchmarks across the globe.
The interactions of people and environments and the cultural artifacts this produces has been the focus of my research for some time. It is not just the physical environments themselves that capture my imagination but the importance of place in people’s behavior and collective memory. Evidence of beachcombing and shell collecting has been found by people living over 40,000 years ago in Europe. I am intrigued and inspired to document behaviors that we share collectively over time and cultures.
Cathy Keys, 2008, ‘Oxide Stains’, in Ceramics Technical, vol25, pp18-22.