Brenda McMahon is a nationally renowned ceramic artist whose saggar-fired porcelain artworks merge primitive pit firing with a Japanese aesthetic. She creates all her fine, burnished vessels by hand on the potter's wheel and uses raw clay to roll out her tiles, firing both in her outdoor gas kiln.
Instead of using glazes on her vessels, the artist experiments with natural materials and the random markings of fire upon earth. She surrounds her porcelain forms with a variety of organic materials in the firing chamber to produce a splendid combination of smoky blacks and grays, with a fumed palette of orange, salmon, pink, and burgundy. Like the unpredictability of waves chasing the shoreline, each firing brings surprising patterns to the surfaces of her pots. These "fire paintings" are one of a kind and perfect for those who enjoy the quiet unknown.
A trip to Thailand in 2007 inspired Brenda's newer work, her carved wall murals. During her travels from ancient cities and ornate temples to the contemplative countryside, the vast "Textures of Thailand" were everywhere. This grant-funded trip precipitated a body of work McMahon calls "Sculptural Expressions on a Clay Canvas." Here, she moves away from her burnished surfaces to pulling, stretching, altering, and carving the clay to create rhythm, movement, and energy fields around the wall mural. These murals are sprayed with individually mixed slips and engobes to create a delicate palette. From her saggar-fired, meditative vessels to her figurative expressions, the artists shares the latest incarnation of her vast exploration of clay and form.
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