Artborne Magazine July 2016 - Page 22

Richard Munster by Jenn Allen Richard Munster’s ceramic sculptures walk the line between man-made and natural rock formations. His work contains natural minerals and utilitarian objects fused together. With a background in functional pottery, he creates fine art works using his technical understanding of clay. These sculptures combine the natural, soft look of the clay with sharp, deliberate cuts. Blurring the line between ancient and contemporary, Munster plays on the tradition of ceramics and discovery. Jenn Allen: What I really like about your work is that it’s not time specific. The way I look at your sculptures is that they feel like these artifacts that in 500 years in the future, if somebody came upon them, they wouldn’t know where they’re from and there would be this questioning. Do you think about that, especially since with ceramics there is a lot of archaeology and discovery involved? Richard Munster: Yeah, I do. I think that anybody who is interested in the work that I’m making or is working in that vein laughs about confusing archeologists. Even to this day, I’ve had a number of people who respond to the work saying ‘Oh my gosh, it looks like it should be in a natural history museum, but…’ and the sentence kind of ends there. I make works that look like it should be something that came out of the ground but obviously isn’t. It is a really delicate balance, but it’s interesting to me. How do you decide what clay bodies you use? Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot more about the specific materials I’m using. So many of the materials that we use in the ceramic tradition or in the ceramic spectrum, whatever you want to call it, are regular, everyday, materials that exist around us that are common in industry, whether that’s toothpaste, or sandbags for levees, or paper, or whatever it may be, they’re all mineral based products. To be able to incorporate those into the work that I’m making is both technically interesting to me, but also lends to the vocabulary of the material itself. Whether it’s auto glass, whether it’s beach sand, beach shells, or any number of other materials that I may find along the way, I use those right: Ossuary, ceramic below: Pluribus Unum, bentonite clay, charcoal, paint, dirt, & sand 21