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Origins and Philosophy

The valuation of artwork is no easy topic to approach. First, I think of the fine line between art and utility, between the aesthetic and functional. But can either be purely one or the other? No, never, and fine art has always served a function as story teller: of history, of society, of the individual, whether through figurative representations and abstractions, context, or by virtue of process and medium. It would seem that forms of art, genres or mediums, which live closely to this line, are the most easily commodified. The value of that which evolved from a tradition of craft and necessity is not usually questioned as that which was created with no other purpose than to be viewed or experienced—never touched, washed, or used as a tool.

The purpose of Booth Ceramics is to lift the line between the aesthetic and functional and also to explore relationships between art forms and genres, such as ceramics and photography, or still life photography and portraiture, in a way that brings depth, awareness, and beauty to the way we live and our environments. It is important to surround ourselves and each other with tools and art that stimulate us intellectually and emotionally and are made with a conscientiousness contrary to what disposable culture promotes—that is, with feeling, time, knowledge of history, and a reverence towards the world we share.

Booth Ceramics evolved out of a desire to look specifically at ceramics, an ancient medium still essential and being used in a multitude of ways today, and photography, another form of art and communication that has analogously become an eminent part of almost every aspect of our lives. The act of looking is an art form itself, and the desire to look at the art of ceramics with care and attention readily suggests curating, composing, and photography. Through photography, we can closely examine the paradoxical, illusory characteristics of objects, nature, and human nature in still compositions, which, by the hand of a skillful artist will seem to breathe, possess light, and evolve in depth and detail over time.

Ceramic art, at times functional, at times purely decorative or symbolic, in its original capacity was used to tell myths and stories. In Ancient Greece, small figurines symbolized Gods and the human form, while vessels were etched and painted with a range of pictorial narratives from funeral scenes to sea battles, to dances and boxing matches. Ceramic art was essentially a type of visual history, and much of our understanding of the ancient world and the first civilizations has been discerned by the unearthing and analysis of its worn fragments. In my eyes, the medium, throughout centuries of adaptation and reinvention, has remained and will always remain, a vestige of its primary and vital function as an embodiment and conveyor of human life and its essence.

Booth Ceramics is meant to be a sort of a metaphorical space, like a still life, like a photograph, providing a sharper, longer look at a variety of art formss which intersect and maintain a diversity of important relationships to one another.

— Ashley Booth Klein