Lisa S. Truax

Artist Statement

I am interested in the contrast between places such as parks and natural areas and modern ways of building and living. We have cultural ideas of beauty and the sense of the untouched associated with these places. Outdoor landscapes seem to be in their natural state, but are often actually created, planned, built, and maintained as part of our culture.

We think of nature as untouched and wild, and not something controlled or created by humans. Through my work I attempt to create a sense of connection to nature in the viewer, yet through the utilization of abstraction avoid connections to specific places. Materials and process are important conceptual factors, as I combine traditional ceramic materials with found and sourced natural materials such as granite, clay, and sand mixed with collected refuse such as glass, metal, and waste glaze. These elements are changed through melting, flowing, and fusing together in the firing process to a different chemical state, mimicking the processes of the earth does over millennia and utilizing a sense of artifice, to visually represent abstractions of land and the ocean floor. Remnants of human past can become a visible or invisible part through this process, drawing questions about nature as a built environment.

I question the idea of culturally valuable versus personally valuable natural space. The contrast between the natural and man-made, and the seen and the unseen are determining factors. The effect of these elements on our lives and psyche are important considerations. Natural places can have positive effects on our well being, many of which we may not yet understand, and the effects of created nature may have the same effects as the real. We often collect things such as stones and coral and bring them into our homes, reminding us of our fascination with natural objects. The relationship we have both culturally and individually to nature, the contrast between wildness and wilderness, human versus geologic time, permanence and impermanence, and the effect these areas have on our lives is the focus of my work.