Holly Thompson – Red Lodge Clay Center

Holly ThompsonBloomington, IN

Considering the boundaries, borders, and binaries of categorized identities, of the body, of societal constructs and the impossible expectations that they bear, my work speaks to the multifaceted and fluid nature of identity, with emphasis on gender. Few things in nature are fixed or permanent; I am interested in the margins, the fringe, and the non-normative— the ways in which we identify ourselves that are messy, fluctuating, layered, and do not fit neatly into any pre-determined criteria. Although I use a variety of materials, it is often the process, plasticity, and transformative nature of clay that drives this work, recording experiences that become permanent through metamorphosis.

My background in graphic design, photography, and drawing informs the way that I treat my sculptural surfaces, which are often subtle but unapologetic. Because I am interested in how we understand gender through language, my work utilizes the double meanings and sometimes meaninglessness of words. I use both smooth and constrained gradations to exploit boundaries while candy coating the work in saturated colors to leave the viewer feeling that they might already understand my propositions. Additionally, using a language of symbols, I provide otherwise abstract concepts with literal dimensionality. It is the “subversively sweet” quality of the work that allows me to explore queer theory, philosophy, and language in a way that is simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and demanding.