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Ani Kasten Ani Kasten Ani Kasten

Investigating the materiality of the clay is the foundation and focal point for all of my vessels, sculptures and assemblages. The willfulness, forcefulness, plasticity and mutability of the ceramic medium is a push and pull of contradictions, an endlessly fascinating dance that engages my hands and my imagination on its way to becoming a finished object. These material qualities that I find so expressive and compelling, I have been unable to find in any medium other than clay.

From the beginning my relationship to earth materials has been unconventional, as I did not partake in an academic or formal training, opting instead for a one-year studio pottery apprenticeship in the United Kingdom. Since completing my training in 2001, I have been developing a studio practice that incorporates traditional craftsmanship principles I gained from the apprenticeship with experiences and ideas acquired during my subsequent world travels. My experiences of collaborating and working alongside artisans from diverse cultures, as well as soaking up on-the-ground experience with traditional methods and locally available materials in far-flung locations, have been vital to my ongoing education as an artist. My pursuits in clay have been informed by in-depth explorations of ceramic materials in their natural environments, rather than in a classroom setting. My time in England, as well as five years I spent directing a ceramics development project in Nepal and traveling throughout South, East and Southeast Asia, were a formative influence on my ceramic practice, because of the exposure to a diverse set of methods, tools and materials, as well as the relationships I formed with other artists during my travels.

My forms and compositions continually draw from natural and geological imagery, and explore the meeting point of phenomena occurring in nature and objects wrought by the human hand. The pieces weave these two points of origin into integrated landscapes, where I look for a balance between the naturally occurring tendencies of the materials, the force of my hands, and my aesthetic vision. I make use of wheel-throwing and hand-building techniques to explore the spectrum, breadth and limits of clay. The interactions and relationships between differing clay bodies, which include black or white stoneware clay, porcelain, and locally sourced ‘wild clays’, as well as various types of stone added for texture, are what interest me, as metaphors for more human interactions and relationships. How does porcelain melt with, reject, bend or shrink in response to the proximity of stoneware, or islands of rock? My pieces highlight the natural proclivities of unadulterated clay in conversation with crafted attention to form and surface detail. My intent in my work is to investigate relationships, and the nature of change—our actions as human beings as we form relationships, make, build, and construct the world around us, in harmony or disharmony with the natural processes of eroding, cracking, shifting and changing shape. My pieces possess a ‘hereditary memory’ in their obscured reference to crafted vessels and other artifacts that once had a purpose, now buried, lost and eroded by time. My ceramic objects remark on temporal beauty infused with loss, or the inevitability of change and the rigors of passing time. My practice is concerned with building, making, creating positivity from the surrounding landscape of unavoidable brokenness. In my process I seek the refined within the rough, the beauty in ugliness-- forms imbued with extreme fragility yet exhibiting inner strength, manifesting the contradictions and opposing forces we find in ourselves throughout the human experience.

Ani Kasten
29815 Unity Ave
Shafer MN 55074
(240) 460-3008

Ani Kasten.com

Showroom by appointment

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