A Solo Exhibition by Jeffrey Haddorff at NE SCULPTURE | Gallery Factory, open from April 9, 2021 - May 1st 2021.
Opening Reception: 7-9pm on Friday, April 9th, 2021
Jeffrey is an artist based in Northeast Minneapolis. He earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota, a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Olaf College, and studied the History of European Film at Kobenhavns Universitet.
Find out more about Jeffrey's work here:
And on Instagram: @jeffhaddorff
The physical struggle of working with ceramics on a large scale is very important to me, as is allowing the process of fabrication to have a voice in the construction of the sculpture. Yes, I am trying to make the clay do what is in my mind, but I am also trying to remain open to what the clay has to say about my idea, likewise the stains and the glaze. The piece then is a culmination of both my intentional and intuitive interactions with the materials and the processes.
I engage the clay in a very direct and physical manner and I allow the material to record it uncensored. I don’t try to fix it and make it look “good” after the fact. The piece is a recording of our interaction and an expression of the physicality of its construction. My bodily interactions with the material connect me to it in ways that I do not fully understand. The piece itself becomes a record of the interaction between my body and the clay body. And somehow within that interaction something is created that is beyond my intention.
There is an initial idea. A seed from a previous piece or someone else’s work. A sculpture, a painting, a movie, getting dumped via text, a song, a book, my marriage, my Fathers illness, a phrase, a tree, my brothers pain, my sisters love, a landscape, a car, a chair, the birth of my children, a pot, a dance, leaving my wife, the view out my window, something Kim said, a moment, a time, a place. Like Orson Wells creating a situation for something to happen and then allowing it to happen and putting in on film. But without the narrative, with only the visceral abstraction of all the things above. It is not purely intuitive. It is a way of placing trust in all the things I’ve seen and felt and experienced combined with trust in my own technical abilities and vision. It’s believing that the process will deliver something better than I could come up with on my own.
Over the last five or so years I have been pushing the scale of my work, which has gone from table-top size to the range of 8 - 12 feet high. I have also been exploring surfaces: smooth clean surfaced pieces have given way to pieces with heavily textured surfaces where the evidence of the construction largely remains in place or is even exaggerated. For instance, when joining pieces of clay, I choose not to smooth it out to have it appear seamless, and try to do as little as possible in terms of “covering my tracks'' construction-wise. Using mitered connections between slabs or overlapping slabs and us-ing large amounts of slurry to “glue” them together achieves this effect as well. Constructing in this way gives the work an un-fussed over quality and invites the firing process to exert greater effect on the work as well. And I have been refining the “painting” I do on these surfaces. Brushwork has gone away in favor of multiple washes of heavily diluted stains either poured on or applied with a large sponge wrung out over areas of the piece. Further, instead of an overall coat of clear glaze, I have begun orchestrating the glossy and matte areas.
Within the past two years I have also been paying more attention to the engineering that goes into working on large-scale ceramics. This is an area that I am only beginning to take advantage of in terms of the possibilities for cheating gravity and freeing the form to occupy space with a greater janky dynamism. I have always wanted the work to have a sort of off-kilter, tippy, unstable feel to it. Now I am able to achieve that and even push it much farther, without the work being ac-tually unsafe to be near (a hallmark of the earlier work). The sculpture now has a steel infrastructure that anchors and clamps down the stacks of shapes and also clamps them horizontally to make them very structurally stable.
Though my education was largely in technical and craft-based ceramics, and I am committed to using ceramic-based materials (with the exception of the interior structural steel), the work has moved into a realm that is outside of that categorization due to its scale, its scope, and its intention.
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