Brushes, Hammers, Paste and Nails
Jeremy R. Brooks has not received any gifts yet
I acquired ceramic decals manufactured for the hobby industry to create collages for this body of work. The work utilizes kitsch imagery found on commercial decals to create abstract imagery that is both winsome and droll. These collages are created through cutting ceramic decals into smaller sections to produce a library of parts. I arrange different parts together from a myriad of decal sources to compose a new image. Some of these works are one of a kind as they make use of vintage ceramic decals that are no longer in production, while other collages can be replicated because they use decals that are commercially still being produced today. My collages can be as simple as one part (a cropped section from a larger decal) or can contain multiple parts to create a final arrangement. Once arranged, the decal collages are applied to ceramic canvases. Thin porcelain substrates measuring 0.040” in thickness are the canvases for these collages. Post application, the decals are fired to cone 018 in an electric kiln. Unlike paper collages, the use of ceramic materials in this manner creates archival works of art on a vitreous porcelain canvases.
Throughout my career, I have toyed with the viewer’s perception of ceramics through a peculiar combination of materials, wit, and context. In line with this, I describe this body of work as “my most traditional use of ceramic materials to date,” although I state this with a raised eyebrow and a steady grin. From a material standpoint, the decal collages contain more ceramic materials than the sculptural work I have produced within the past ten years. My sculptural work often employs a minimal use of ceramic materials in favor of “cold” finishes and mixed-media materials. These decal collages, in contrast, are entirely ceramic-based despite their deceiving appearances. The tipping point in the read of the work is the use of porcelain substrates as the canvases (the work would read completely differently if the decals were applied to pottery, vessels, or architectural tiles). This act ultimately frames “ceramics” within the context of two-dimensional art. The conversation that opens hereinafter is one that considers the source imagery particular to ceramic decals, what manufactures consider worthy of decal production, and what has continued to perpetuate the “Decalcomania” craze since its onset in the mid 1870’s.