INFO    EXHIBITS  

BECCA TUSKA


Cilia, 2020
CT3 White Clay (13.5” x 12”)


Gut, 2020
CT3 White Clay, Black Clay (16” x 12”)



Heart, 2020
CT3 White Clay (13’ x 8”)


Phage, 2020
Black Clay (15” x 14”)


Cranium, 2020
CT3 White Clay, Black Clay (9” x 9”)



Optics, 2020
CT3 White Clay (7” x 7”)



    In my early stages of working with clay, I used it primarily as a source of stress relief and the same is still true today. I have used clay as a way to cope with outside stressors by allowing my mind to wander for hours while my hands are focused on creating and executing textures. As someone who has a strong background in the sciences and divides my time in academia between two realms, this mechanism of relief has been something that has given me balance and has inspired the creation of pieces that demonstrate both static and dynamic ideas. While I spend most of my time driven by reason, it is imperative I have something that provides quite the opposite. My work seeks to connect both of my areas of study by incorporating my interest with the human body with that of natural references of the sea. I am interested in exploring organic shape and its relation to the living world in a way that is not representational but rather interpretive.

    Most of my work has an element of allusion to the natural world both within the textures I use and the material itself. Ocean plants and specific structures within the human body are a few of the references I am drawn to because of the movement inside of each form. I do not strive to create an exact replica of these structures but rather to describe their characteristics with texture. I try to create a stark juxtaposition between dynamic and static movement with the use of small and intricate texture. Spikes and long cylindrical clay pieces are both textures not specifically found in these references but resemble similar characteristics in terms of their movement quality and dynamics. I use these textures in my pieces because they create a “push and pull” visual effect which further enhances the organic shape of each piece. Jagged shapes in combination with flowy textures also bring a dynamic to something traditionally seen as rather static.

    Clay is a very delicate material. Working with clay can become very frustrating just because of the maintenance it requires throughout the process. That being said, the properties of this material allow for creation of any shape or structure. To make all of my pieces, the underlying form is created with a coil technique and the shape is not forced by my own hands but rather determined by how the clay wants to move. While applying the textures is one of the more grueling parts of the process, the formation of the underlying organic shape is very satisfying to me. This satisfaction comes from representing something I am very familiar with, that being the human body, and turning it into something almost unrecognizable. One of the difficulties I face when making my pieces however is the drying process. With my recent works I have decided to leave my pieces in the unfired state. This is considered the state at which the clay is most fragile. When bone dry, the pieces are subject to cracking, breakage, and decomposition further adding a layer of stress to the process. While I do enjoy firing my pieces to completion, leaving them as is with the bare-bone structure gives a greater context to how I work.

   
    Each of my pieces is not meant to be fully understood or interpreted. Creating abstract sculpture is what gives me balance in my life and it is this balance that drives my want to create more. Harmonious and dynamic movement through the use of texture eases the constant pressure for me to think empirically and represents far more than what I need explained by reason or interpretation.