As a ceramic sculptor, Katherine Ross is interested in the historical role of porcelain as a status symbol valued for purity and strength, elegance and expense. Her work has always been concerned with the complex relationship we have to this material and the subtle, coded ways it operates within our culture. Her most recent work, The Subjective Meadow, will be on view at the Pritzlaff building throughout the week of the NCECA conference.
Over the years she has utilized ceramics, often combined with video, photography and mixed media, within large-scale installations that address subjects such as biological technology, disease and prophylaxis, genetic engineering, hybridization, and cloning.
Most recently Ross has been moving towards performance and collaborations with an obsolete, genetically manipulated animal- the mule. For this exhibition Ross has made several hundred, slip cast porcelain spheres, and while still soft and pliable, took them her mules’ field. Placed in the open, the animals were free to investigate, sniff and push the spheres, distorting and leaving their marks as a record of their interaction. The resulting objects and video that will be on view are hauntingly beautiful, and a quiet meditation on the possibilities for both understanding and relating to another species. As she points out, “because their senses pick up on different things, different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds. Everything about a person or animal shapes the world it inhabits.”
Katherine Ross is a Professor and Chair of the Ceramics Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A member of the International Academy of Ceramics, her work has been published widely in periodicals and books on ceramic art in the U.S., Great Britain, China, Australia, and Switzerland.