Stack Forms

Large, Stack Formed Ceramic Sculptures

This series of ceramic work started in 1983 during a ceramic sculpture class Kenney took in college (see history pictures).  The series has continued and evolved over the years.  Kenney’s aspiration is to make large pieces that have a presence and command attention because of the size.  Most are made in sections and then stacked on poles that are fitted into a concrete base.  The poles keep the sections from sliding off and the concrete makes for stable heavy base.  The ceramic forms themselves are usually pressmolded on a table or floor using concrete blocks and various other shapes to contain the clay slabs.  A large slab is used to cover the open part of the piece to create the appearance of a solid ceramic shape from all sides.  Each section on Hawaii Stack Form weighs about 100 lbs and the clay is from 1/2” to 1.5” thick.  There are clay sleeves inside where the poles go through each section to strengthen the finished work.

The excitement in ceramics for me comes from the process of making objects and the finished product when displayed. I like bright colors that stand out while the layering of information creates an illusion of depth. The approach is similar to that of abstract paintings but with ceramics the shape of each object and the permanence of firing make a unique statement.

Arts & Crafts Statement by Douglas Kenney

The difference between art and craft is that art usually does not have a real function in people's lives other than it aesthetic beauty. Craft, on the other hand, has some function in a household. Functional pottery, tile, a vase all have uses. A painting or sculpture works on its aesthetics. Paintings and figurative work have traditionally been thought of as fine art. Also, if it hangs on a wall it can be referred to as art similar to a painting or drawing.

In my work, coming from western art training, I decided to use the wall as a place to display a lot of my work. In western architecture there is a vast quanity of open wall space in homes. From a marketing perspective, as an artist, I decided to compete with painting for this open wall space. Ceramic vessel and object makers always need a shelf or pedestal to display their work. Since the walls are so large, I make large pieces to fill this empty space.

Read More: Arts & Crafts Statement by Douglas Kenney

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