2021 Emerging Artist: Oxana Geets

Oxana Geets, Moscow, Russia

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

Oxana Geets: In my artistic practice, my main challenge is to create not an object, but a creature that can exist in another universe. Due to this purpose, my designs are primarily based on anatomical structures of various existing species, including some protozoans and arthropods such as insects, myriapods, and arachnids.

The other important source of inspiration for me is ancient art in the widest geographical and historical sense, dating as far back as thousands of years BCE. I am constantly searching for new visual impressions of artifacts belonging to prehistoric cultures like the Trypillian, the Yangshao, and the Olmecs. Absorbing the stylization methods of ancient artists, I aspire to enhance my own arsenal of creative approaches.

1 Gooja The Interpreter, 16 in. (41 cm) in height, stoneware, pigments, glaze, fired to 2228°F (1220°C) in oxidation, 2021.

My main activity is ball-jointed doll design. This practice is highly demanding in terms of engineering, and as I have devoted 12 years of my life to it, it has undoubtedly formed my perspective and approach. Consequently, some of my ceramic works include simple points of articulation and have modular design. Typically, they have one flat neck joint, which lets the head rotate. Other works have entirely articulated construction with full mobility. These features allow sculptures to be more expressive and interactive.

CM: What role does color play in your work?

OG: The main color I use in my works is the color of the clay body, which is chosen specifically for each project— mostly deep, dark shades of highly grogged stoneware. Besides the clay body, I use bright pigments for toning the surface of the forms, rubbing them into the pores and applying a good layer of paint to accents. The deep, warm, dark tone of the stoneware body provides dramatic visual contrast to vibrant tints of the pigments, thus intensifying the emotional impact of the whole piece.

2 The Honourable Gu, 8½ in. (22 cm) in height, stoneware, pigments, glaze, fired to 2228°F (1220°C) in oxidation, 2020.

CM: What excites you about the field of ceramics?

OG: I have chosen ceramics as my main medium because I am drawn to its historical and cultural roots that go back to the very beginning of mankind. I gravitated to Neo-Jomon style, striving to explore the possibilities of integrating ancient art into modernity and develop modern mythology about alternative realities. Neo-Jomon is a modern art style that references Japanese culture of the Neolithic Age. I am inspired by the idea of ceramic forms that illustrate some parascientific ideas about stones.

Using clay is a perfect way to achieve my aim of creating not an object, but a being. I put a lot of effort into making my works, but only in the kiln do they come alive. In my artistic practice, the kiln is the mother object, as within it occurs the profound rebirth of matter, the transformation of mountain dust into stone.

To learn more, visit www.instagram.com/oxana_geets.

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