Henderson Fine Art Gallery

Structure + Style

August 21, 2009 - September 18, 2009

Reception: Friday, August 21 – 6 to 8 p.m.



The handbuilt functional forms I create go beyond strict utility. They are also vessels that hold personal references where a myriad of experiences and ideas reside, establishing context and giving meaning to the work.

My influences are as far ranging as childhood toys, calligraphic texts, architecture and textiles. The thread that unites this seemingly disparate collection is function. I am drawn to things that work, objects that serve a purpose. Simultaneously, I have an appreciation for design that is lucid and unencumbered. I seek beauty, whether in execution of design or adornment, and hold a deep appreciation for objects that are cohesive in all their elements.

Often, my references make themselves apparent long after a piece has been conceived and may be revealed in subtle and surprising ways. A form comprised of two connected cones, lying on its side on my worktable, is startlingly like the string-operated wooden spinning tops of my childhood. A feeling of nostalgia springs forth the moment the connection is made. Laying down the sgraffito marks of the “visual text” I have developed – a direct reference to calligraphy - conjures up the memory of an exquisite Japanese textile I have beheld and the reverence I have for the unknown maker of such a piece. This is the connective tissue that brings meaning to what I do as an artist.

All of my ceramic forms are slab constructed in terra cotta, fired in oxidation to cone 04. Initially a piece is conceived as a two dimensional drawing, followed by the creation of pattern pieces - deconstructed versions of the ultimate three dimensional form - which are attached to the clay slab. Package design and dressmaking come to mind as the piece is brought to life by cutting, folding, darting and connecting. Visual and tactile depth is developed through the application of multiple layers of clay, slips, stains and glazes, and by scraping, incising and carving into the surface. This working process is slow and methodical.

I find I develop an intimate relationship with each piece I create. Even when working in series I will discover the nuances unique to each form. These individual characteristics may be the result of variances in moisture from one clay slab to the next, a more gentle or forceful touch, the use of a different tool or, sometimes, the inexplicable. The process itself, therefore, can be revealing as the work teaches me.

While my forms are recognizable - a box, a bottle, a bowl - my intention is to evoke a deeper response. My work is intended to move from my hands to another’s, and is there that the full potential of a piece may be found. Functionality - to store in, to pour from, to serve with - is the doorway, discovery is the goal. Whether a piece reveals my source of inspiration, offers an opportunity for aesthetic contemplation or provides the deep satisfaction that comes from interacting with a thoughtfully crafted object, the most successful work conveys something more than the sum of its parts.

Marie McCallum


The window shopper series was inspired by my grandmother, her sisters, and her mother. During the 1940's my great-grandfather would take the girls and go into downtown Los Angeles from their farm to shop. The day would be spent "window shopping" all the latest fashions for ideas. Then the shopping would begin for fabric and notions to sew up the season's new wardrobes.

My grandmother had a tailor's training and made beautiful suits and coats and all of my school clothes. When I was eleven she started teaching me to sew. By the age of thirteen I was making all of my school clothes. I have always been interested in clothing and its construction. I can't look at a garment without thinking about it in terms of all of its separate pieces, and how they all came together. Subsequently, this created a deep interest in fashion at an early age.

As I began to closely look at shop windows I also became acutely aware of their reflections of the outside world. Throughout history we humans have been obsessed with personal adornment. Clothing plays a central role in how people define themselves. As modern super consumers we are caught up in acquiring the latest fashion and often lose sight of the things that are real in our lives. We are often preoccupied by the image we want to project from our clothing.

Thus, the Window Shopper series also deals with the external appropriation of identity and personal image through consumerism. Shop windows are the places that hold the mysterious possibilities of who we might become inside those clothes, poised in the window for our fantasy's sake.

Gallery Hours:
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon - Thurs
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays