by Casey Whittier
About the Artist
I remember vividly the first time I stomped through a perfectly formed sheet of ice, obliterating its crystalline structure. Sadness and exaltation bubbled within me simultaneously as I stood, ankle deep, in freezing water and watched the thin remnants disappear below. I had crossed a line, a mobile and intangible line. That fine line that exists between the desire to preserve and the need to re-imagine, re-configure and re-contextualize is still a driving force in my studio practice. The daily interplay between past and present, imagination and memory, and our physical and intellectual relationship to landscape serve as reference points for my dreams.
My work is based in my need to better understand my own relationship to the objects and environments that surround me. I see each sculpture as a way to advocate for a direct and tactile relationship with the world. Clay serves as palimpsest in my practice; I seek its inherent variations in surface and texture, its ability to mimic, to be thick, thin, ephemeral or permanent and to exploit its own relationship to time and transformation. The physical recordings that come through rolling, tearing, squishing, dipping, pushing, pinching and scratching become representations of touch, of thought, of time spent. -Casey Whittier
Building off the early 20th century lectures of philosopher William James and my own longstanding, albeit rudimentary, understanding of “pragmatism”, Inapt explores the complicated relationship between materiality, function and the symbolic nature of objects. A hastily assembled dolly, fragments of a rowboat, ceramic curtains….each element equipped with a sense of failure and a sense of belonging. Bordering on the nonsensical, Inapt is as much about beauty and humor as it is about a need to assess and organize the world around us in relation to practicality and desire.
"A glance at the history of the idea will show you still better what pragmatism means. The term is derived from the same Greek word [pi rho alpha gamma mu alpha], meaning action, from which our words 'practice' and 'practical' come. It was first introduced into philosophy by Mr. Charles Peirce in 1878. In an article entitled 'How to Make Our Ideas Clear,' in the 'Popular Science Monthly' for January of that year, Mr. Peirce, after pointing out that our beliefs are really rules for action, said that to develop a thought's meaning, we need only determine what conduct it is fitted to produce: that conduct is for us its sole significance…To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider what conceivable effects of a practical kind the object may involve—what sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare. Our conception of these effects, whether immediate or remote, is then for us the whole of our conception of the object, so far as that conception has positive significance at all."
-William James; Pragmatism: A New Name For Some Old Ways of Thinking
Casey Whittier received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. Utilizing a variety of forming methods, Whittier recreates elements from nature, unites the landscapes of her reality with the landscapes of daydreams, exploits the visceral qualities of clay, and ponders the power of shared experience.
Whittier is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States. She is an advocate for community engagement through the arts and has been awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant and Artist INC grant for her ongoing Palm Petals project. More of her work can be found at www.caseywhittier.com.
Opening Reception on First Friday, September 2nd, from 6:00-10:00pm
Closing Reception and Beer Tasting on Saturday, September 24th, from 6:00-8:00pm