Three x Nine: Twenty-seven Transposed 2000-02


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The autobiographical ceramic installation Three x Nine : Twenty-seven Transposed is composed of a series of 27 distinct life-size ceramic masks that were made using my face, literally, as the model on which the slabs of clay were initially formed. I made these masks as demonstrations while teaching. After making a number of demonstrations, the masks began to take on a life of their own. During the process of making each mask, I applied a minimal amount of clay decoration and underglaze color. Each one was then sawdust fired or smoked to complete the process of its creation and final alteration.

The finished installation has been inspired, in part, by issues of life and death, ideas associated with cremation and by the skull racks (tozampantl) of the Aztecs. It has also been imbued with reflective associations of alternate identities. For presentation of the masks, I have utilized the formal structure of the grid, which balances similarities and differences. The sequential and synchronic nature of the grid fascinates me. It is a formal organizational device that I have explored in other works of art. For this installation, I decided also to counter the regularity of the grid with uneven numbers.