Leonard, Courtney – “Artifice” Multi-Hole Breach Series Vessel
Courtney M. Leonard has been called, “One of the strongest emerging voices in the field of ceramics today”. Her pottery is meticulously crafted to contain historical and cultural references, but also to make the viewer reflect on their own relationship with nature and sustainability. This very large multi-holed vessel is inspired by the structures made for reviving coral growth. The use of mica clay can be seen just under the surface of the piece. The surface is created with her own hand-made glazes and the inside is glazed with a blue slip. The mixture of the blue inside and the rough textured surface are striking. What makes this piece so dynamic is that it can sit on the end or side! The holes actually give the piece a strong structure. This piece is part of her series entitled, “Breach”. It is an exploration of historical ties to water and whale; imposed law; and a current relationship of material sustainability.
Leonard is a member of the Shinnecock Nation, has long been exploring those fraught relationships — between native and non-native people, between native people and their traditional hunting practices, and between all people and the natural balance of the world. The Shinnecocks, whose name means “People of the Stony Shore,” had taught the colonists how to whale when they first arrived on the South Fork. Garth Johnson of the Ceramics Research Center says, “Her art manages to be both poetic and political, and also simultaneously personal and universal”