Kel Campbell

The 3 Sisters Dinner Party

Senior Project April 2013


“Objects hang before the eyes of the imagination, continuously re-presenting ourselves to ourselves, and telling the stories of our lives in ways which would be impossible otherwise”.        (Susan Pearce, Objects of Knowledge. 1992.)

This exhibition focuses on the visible and invisible assemblage of things that we as individuals figuratively store, carry, and balance. The 3 Sisters Dinner Party is a metaphor for contemporary women’s roles, responsibilities, challenges and for what we “bring to the table” socially, aesthetically, and subconsciously.  Throughout history humans have created representations of themselves and others as a means to connect objects with personal experiences.  In this way, the figure is used to compartmentalize and organize personal needs; to reflect growth and change; and to celebrate self and others.

Having grown up in a household with two sisters, I am acutely aware of how we as women organize, understand and arrange our inner selves in relation to the world around us. There were many experiences that the three of us endured in which the words and actions of others shattered our emotional structures and forced us to reassemble the pieces of our life into something new.  The physical gathering of things and the complementary act of purposeful rebuilding is the basis of my work as an artist and as a person. The transformation of everyday objects into treasured possessions becomes a critical coping strategy in challenging times, as well as a record of joyful events and occasions. I see beauty in the embedded history of the ‘used’ articles I collect, and in creating the work for this exhibition the repurposing and reinvention of both found and fabricated objects is symbolic of the construction of personal identity.

An essential part of my creative process has been collecting objects that are interesting to me and associating them with personal memories.   I have chosen to use discarded wood palettes, fences and scraps; bottlecaps, old nails and rusted metal; wire, mirror, and welded steel. Through the use of saws, nail guns, glue, and many other tools, I rebuild the objects into new functional and aesthetic states.  With the incorporation of vessels and dinnerware made from white earthenware clay I am making objects that represent new life, hope and a clean start for the future. The white organic forms combine both handbuilt and wheelthrown techniques, and are fired in an electric kiln to 1888 degrees F.

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