Judith Meyers Altobell
For the past decade I have worked with around six ongoing series. I have experimented with forms, surfaces and glazing techniques to create pieces that both reflect the history of ceramics and are metaphors for social and political ideas.
In one series, ideas are drawn from songs by Bob Dylan. For example, to describe marriage, I interpreted a line from Brownsville Girl, “I always say, hang onto me baby, and let’s hope the roof stays on.”
In another series, I try to capture the simplicity of the haniwa tomb figures of Japan. Between 300 and 600 AD. Japanese craftsmen transformed simple clay cylinders into figures that described everyday life in Japan.
I began a series that is influenced by the simplicity and naiveté of the 18th and 19th century American portrait paintings. I like the fact, according to Holland Cotter of the New York Times, these paintings served a function in the era they were created. “..a painted portrait of a child, was a combination of genetic trophy, protective talisman and personal memento; a record of continuity, a wish for the future, a reminder of what was or might have been.”
Several series are based on trips I took to Tanzania and Kenya in 1995 and to Norway in 1999.