Well-Rounded: The Sculpture of Jarica Walsh
Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
With artwork titles like “You Are Strong,” “We’re All Connected,” and “You Are Luminous,” multidisciplinary artist Jarica Walsh’s practice occurs as approachable, immediately likeable—and significantly warmer than lots of her too-cool-for-school contemporary abstract peers. Walsh, who is a member of the Native American Osage Nation tribe, grew up in Oklahoma, where she received her degree in Media Arts from the University of Oklahoma. Though she focused mainly on filmmaking in college, today her primary medium is clay, forged into beguiling, often pleasingly rounded shapes.
Walsh’s most recent works are distinguished by their rounded forms, which are incorporated into nearly every composition. As a shape, the circle is deceptively complex, supple and sturdy in equal parts. Walsh draws inspiration the cosmos, and, on a micro level, from the cellular structure of water. True to its name, Walsh’s “Star Series” contains works which hearken to the night sky, but also point to the artist’s deep admiration for astronomer Carl Sagan. “Each artwork,” explains Walsh, “is infused with positive energy and goodwill.” Like Lilliputian planetariums, many of these pale, bone-colored globes are covered allover with stars of various sizes; upon closer inspection we see the “stars” are perfectly rounded dots, incised into the clay. In all of Walsh’s work, the solidity of her chosen material, porcelain, exists in pleasing contrast with the ephemeral nature of her subject matter. Her “Add & Subtract” series, for instance, deals primarily with negative space. In some half-circle or domed works, dashes or rectangles cover the surface, creating a strong, if ultimately imperceptible, sense of pattern. Walsh’s “Fragility Series” is both raw and empowering. In this body of work, Walsh made herself vulnerable, expressing the devastation of heartbreak in works which are “armored” with discs of porcelain, as though to reaffirm one’s inner and outer strength and innate courage.