2020 Emerging Artist: Joann Quiñones

Joann Quiñones, Richmond, Indiana

Ceramics Monthly: How do you come up with the forms that are prevalent in your work?

Joann Quiñones: My ceramic and multimedia figures are hybrid forms made up of different individuals’ body parts. I make a life cast of a torso, face, or leg, make a mold, and then slip cast multiple parts. On occasion, I have to sculpt together different body parts to look like one unified (although mythic) person. My process to create forms is labor intensive, and because so much of my work questions the history of labor, the process and the content go hand in hand. Slip casting is a technique that allows for the mass production of pottery, and I am fascinated by the way figurative sculpture can be combined with this process. I use terra-cotta and porcelain casting slips because I love having a connection to the history of each of these materials. Even on surfaces that are not ceramic, like the wooden bases, I reference ceramic tile patterns from Puerto Rico and Spain.

1 Joann Quiñones’ Toussaint of Ward Avenue (detail), 7 ft. (2.1 m) in height, porcelain and terra-cotta slips, fired to cone 06, Osnaburg linen, coffee-stained muslin, Dutch-wax prints, digitally printed organza, ruff, indigo, gilding, pearls, acrylic paint, 2019. Photos: Morgan Stephenson.

CM: Who is your ideal audience?

JQ: Because I reference so much African American, Caribbean, and Puerto Rican culture, I think people familiar with these histories will recognize the symbols I incorporate. However, I don’t have a specific audience in mind. Rather, my ideal wish is that people of different races, sexes, and ethnic and economic backgrounds can look at the work together, and become aware of how their own personal histories or perspectives inform their responses. I hope that they talk to each other, ask each other questions, and start a dialog about the things that are hard to discuss, such as the legacy of slavery and colonization.

2 Joann Quiñones’ El mito del regreso (The myth of the return) (foreground), Toussaint of Ward Avenue (back right), Exilio (Exile) (back left), 2019.

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