Meaghan Shaw

In Transit

Senior Project April 2013

Artist Statement

It’s fascinating how we live in a world that’s full of pattern and design; patterns in nature, even intangible things like the patterns in our daily life. Patterns can be found throughout history in meditative devices such as labyrinths and mandalas, as well as more contemporary uses of patterning as a form of meditation. On a psychological level, there are universal forms of influence called archetypes, patterns of thought and image that influence how we make decisions in life, respond to authority, and relate to the material world. Carl Jung found archetypal images and patterns in every culture and time period of human history. We often see our lives as random and hectic but underneath the surface of commotion and disorder lies a mysterious orderly flow, an underlying balance that fuels our growth and evolution throughout our life.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used patterned drawings and paintings as a form of meditation to silence my thoughts and to regain clarity in my life. These meditative drawings have been my main outlet for personal reflection and escape from the day’s mundane routine. I view the human experience as a series of repeating lines and shapes; a record of the physical and emotional patterns and habits we create as a way of living. In my work, I want to illustrate the rhythm and movement of life- lines and shapes instinctively weaving together to create a unified balanced design of rhythm and movement that reflects the mysterious journey we have all embarked on. Making these drawings has helped me to understand that there is no documented right or wrong way to approach life. I believe it to be a purely instinctual and personal choice as to how we steer our way through this journey and allow room for change and personal evolution.

My work starts with black and white ink drawings. There is no planning or thought about what the final image will be; it is purely intuitive with each drawing being its own unique entity. I allow my energy and emotions to take over the medium so that there’s less control from my thought process. Although ink drawings are the foundation of my work, the main material I work with is clay. Clay has been an ongoing, continuous form of art and expression that itself has evolved through time in many ways. Some of the earliest dateable writings and labyrinths were inscribed into clay. I feel that this is the best medium to express the basic human emotions and experiences that I strive to convey in my artwork. We have the power to take our lives into our own hands and shape it the way we see fit, just like we shape clay in our hands. For the surface of the linear shapes, I am utilizing black underglaze, clear, and crawl glazes to achieve the desired effects and pattern. Working with earthenware at low fire temperatures (1800- 1900 degrees) allows me to be somewhat certain of the outcome of these chosen effects. Along with the clay materials, I’ve incorporated a transition from the three dimensional clay forms to my two dimensional drawings through direct engagement with the space of the installation using paint.

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