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Kent Swanson:  Works inspired by polar terrains


Slideshow of Kent Swanson's work.

My approach to making ceramic art has been profoundly shaped by over fifteen years of experience living and traveling throughout the polar regions - regions of vast high plateaus, alpine and outlet glaciers, shifting sea ice, and endless tundra plains. The enormity and physical complexity of these terrains are awesome, the experience often overwhelming.

I picture the world as an assemblage of geographies, physical, visual, biotic, social and sonic. My perception first segregates, then maps this assemblage to construct and define a specific sense of place. When I begin to comprehend the correspondence of scale, structure and material within a landscape, only then can I begin to place myself within it. Barry Lopez in his collection of essays, Artic Dreams, writes: "Occasionally one sees something fleeting in the land, a moment when line, color and movement intensify and something sacred is revealed, leading one to believe that there is another realm of reality corresponding to the physical one, but different." It is the spiritual landscape existing within the physical that for me evokes a sense of power of place.

Sense and power of place are what I search for in my work: the explosive potential energy trapped within an iceberg adrift in placid waters, the boldness of a foreshortened horizon that terminates a vast coastal plain.