Shalya Marsh, Morgantown, West Virginia
A confluence of lines and shadows, the entanglements of Shalya Marsh’s ceramic pieces are frozen in situ. As viewers, we are unable to tighten or undo the knots that she has created and that the kiln has set. We are bound to each knot and subject to how the shadows and vinyl decals layer and cover each piece. Such lack of interaction with the implied function of a knot causes anticipation and stress on the viewer, which ultimately reinforces the knot’s function. The viewer sees the entanglement as either binding or securing and thus as either protecting or restricting.
Each study in Umbra has a controlled tangle coupled with a reinforcing layer of vinyl and another layer of quasi-controllable shadow. The flat palette of each layer plays with the viewers’ eyes leaving them to decode the work’s visual associations—that of reality and strength, or fantasy and apprehension. This process allows the viewers to make their own interpretations, frequently leaving them with additional questions.