Duration: December 2018-january 2019
Marina was a short-term artist-in-residence at the New Harmony Clay Project. During the month she was in New Harmony, she continued to investigate the relationships between humans and different kinds of animals that live in close proximity to us, such as animal companions, animals used for food, and animals that are considered pests.
Marina is interested in exploring alternative ideas and techniques as they relate to animal representations, and working in a new environment and context of developing a new body of work. Although she was only here for a short time, we were happy to have her presence and ideas in the studio!
How many years have you been working as a clay artist? 23 years
What is your main clay body that you currently use? White and brown earthenware
What is the primary method you use for building your work? Solid clay construction method with armature when work is large.
What is your favorite studio tool? A stick that fits comfortably in my hand to paddle solid clay to shape and remove air pockets.
Do you have any future clay wishes or dreams? To make work that creates awareness and helps make a difference.
In my work, I investigate the human experience, the animal experience, and the way animals have been perceived in both historical and contemporary contexts. Animal and human forms reflect on the posthuman condition. Animal subjects are used to open up human understanding of animal experiences, while the differences between humans and other species, animals and machines, nature and culture are deconstructed. Postcolonial research provides sources and references for these investigations. The ambiguity that results from the need to move beyond a singular point of view is a catalyst for making forms that interplay between the beautiful and the eerie.
In my recent work, I have been interested in challenging colonial notions of viewing animals by using the same modes of colonial representations in a new context to question human/animal division and anthropocentrism. My work consists of animal representations that explore animality through our relationship with animals, and more broadly, our relationship with the “other”. The desire to discover what is animal can also lead to a greater understanding of what it means to be human. I utilize the boundaries between the two to investigate the various ways humans have been able to alter an animal’s behavior. Shifting roles of the dominant and submissive, strong and fearful, powerful and powerless, serious and comical are contemplated as we strive to comprehend any wildness remaining both in animals, and within our own nature. A contradiction that may be characterized by both intimacy and exploitation continues to evolve and effect our attitudes toward each other. If an animal’s personhood is acknowledged, its otherness can be re-conceptualized, and the “other” can turn into “another”. The term “animal” can be reconstructed and rendered as something that we share with them and referenced to the fact that we resemble animals more than they resemble each other.
BORN: Riga, latvia
Marina Kuchinski is a visual artist practicing in ceramics, mixed media and installation. She primarily handbuilds and sometimes slip casts animal and human forms. Repetition of a dog’s head or juxtaposed pairing of objects are recurring themes in her work. Animal and human subjects are used to explore various issues, be they political, social or psychological. The surfaces are mostly left unglazed and reduced to their essential form.
Kuchinski exhibits extensively throughout the United States and abroad in solo and group exhibitions, including The State Museum of Pennsylvania, The Plains Art Museum, San Diego Art Institute, European Cultural and Technological Centre in Slovenia, Beit Aharon Kahana in Israel, American Museum of Ceramic Art, Kohler Arts Center, Chester Springs Studio, Intermedia Arts, Afro-American Cultural Center, Northern Clay Center, The Clay Studio of Missoula, Baltimore Clayworks, and featured NCECA exhibitions, including the NCECA Biennial. Publications include Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Art and Perception, Ceramics Now Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Kuchinski has been featured in various juried exhibitions, received numerous grants and awards, including the Jerome and McKnight grants, been a guest artist at a number of colleges and universities. She earned her BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and her MFA from Penn State University. Kuchinski is a Professor of Art at the College of DuPage, teaching ceramics and drawing.