Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2013, (AIA) 2017
Erin Furimsky is a practicing studio artist in Bloomington, Illinois whose work focuses on the relationship of sculptural form with highly ornamented surfaces. She received a BFA from the Pennsylvania State University (1997) and an MFA from The Ohio State University (2002). Furimsky has exhibited her work nationally with inclusions of her work in international exhibitions in China and Taiwan. Her work has been included in over one hundred group and solo exhibitions, with reproductions of her ceramic work being featured in numerous books and catalogs. Critical reviews of Furimskys’ work have appeared on several occasions in the journals Ceramics Monthly and Ceramics Art and Perception. Furimsky was nominated and chosen as an emerging artist by the National Council on Education of the Ceramic Arts. She has been the recipient of numerous artist residencies, including the Archie Bray Foundation, The Red Lodge Clay Center, The Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and the Oregon College of Art and Design. She is featured in a number streaming video on Ceramic Arts Network.
As an educator Furimsky has been a featured presenter at national workshops, as well as serving as a visiting professor at Illinois State University and Heartland Community College, both in Normal, IL.
Many decorative arts are overtly useful, yet have delicate decoration that can barely withstand the rigors of daily use. There is a strong relationship in the ceramic arts between luxuriously ornamental wares and objects with specific functions like wig stands, chamber pots, and ceramic pillows. I investigate where these two realms overlap and what happens when the decorative aspect becomes the function.
There is a push and pull between the familiar and unfamiliar in my work. The scale and sense of volume are suggestive of functional forms like vessels, or essential domestic objects such as an iron or a phone. I use familiar patterning like that of wallpaper and fabric in order to make these transformed objects approachable and comfortable. Overlapping and reconfiguring, I reference aspects from historical ceramics too contemporary design.
By investigating domestic forms and their role in our culture I extract and reconstruct their elements. I have looked at these objects not only for aesthetic qualities, but also for their symbolic functions in our lives. For example, one person may perceive the delicate lacey edge of the curtain as trivial and unnecessary, while another may experience it as an intimate and an important reinforcement that they live in a refined and loving home.
Meticulously I hand build ceramic forms. Taking advantage of the clay’s plasticity, I push the interior walls, expanding and inflating them. I enjoy how pattern works on top of the tight, distended surface. Like fabric stretched to cover an overstuffed armchair, or a corseted waist, the volume is crucial to the sensuality of the surface. In some of the more recent forms this sense of expanding volume and one form gently holding another has been influenced by the experience of pregnancy.
On the surface, a complex layering evolves by working the clay at every stage. Deeply carved patterns in the clay merge with the form and the decoration cannot help but become structure. Carved areas are covered with carefully chosen glazes that may run, enhancing and over taking the carving at the same time. Unrestrained areas play against very precise and constructed sections of pattern and decals.
On her porcelain jewelry line, Relish Ceramic Design, Erin writes:
Erin Furimsky is a ceramic sculptor who creates art influenced by the history of ornamentation. Her research inspired the creation of a porcelain jewelry line that adorns the body in a contemporary mode. That was the beginning of a visually stunning line of wearable porcelain accessories, Relish Ceramic Design. All work is skillfully crafted with quality materials, beginning by cutting geometric shapes from a porcelain slab of clay. Erin then draws, carves, prints, and paints a pop of bold color, to create patterns and line work. This is a labor-intensive process, that entails brushing on glazes, hand-sanding each piece, multiple kiln firings, and applying 22k gold or platinum metallic lusters. The work straddles the line of being frisky and refined simulations.