Thursday, April 2, 2009

Deep Inside My Soul ~ Elizabeth Dychter

When i first approached Elizabeth about doing an interview here I had no idea of her family history, I was simply drawn to the work for the pure emotion it conveys. Elizabeth is from Argentina and when I recieved the questions back I can honestly say I was shocked and felt bad for the questions asked. From looking at her work you wouldnt expect her to be the happy person that she is. Thank you Elizabeth for allowing the clay to convey your family history.
Why clay?
I think clay is the most noble and tricky material at the same time, but yet realistic, and the fact that it is closer to the every day needs, makes it more interesting. When you think that in the very beginning of the humanity mud was there, I cannot think of another material to express myself. The sensation of being in contact with nature, melting your hands with the softness of the clay, it´s something beyond any explanation. Even mistakes can be wonderful with clay. It allows us to create and recreate all the while you are working. It combines every essential element, earth, water, air and fire...
What inspires you?
In 2006 I was in a workshop and one of the artists, the Japanese Kyoko Tokumaru said that she first listens to what clay has to say. She said that the clay talks to her and tells her where to start or where to continue. And I think that´s true. I don´t have a preconceived idea of what am I going to do. I let my hands explore the clay and let the material guide me. Obviously my sculptures come from my family history, and it´s deep inside of my soul.
In your sculpture you seem to be dealing with condemnation and solitude, the pieces convey emotion well. What were you trying to say with them?
My father is a survivor of the Holocaust, and I think of myself as a survivor too.
My first pieces of this series, had bandages over their eyes. I was trying to say that people was condemn just because, and nobody wanted to see what was happening. But in this last few years, the bandages fell down, and they turned into faces with no expression going one besides or behind the other, with a kind of resignation, as sheep's to slaughter, and yet no one helps. The lack of interest in human kind...
It´s a dramatic view of humanity, I know,but I still have hopes.
What are your thoughts on the artist as activist?
As you can see I try to make a statement with my art, but I don´t think that is always necessary making a point. Art has to awake your emotions, make you think, but essentially has to touch your soul.
What are your favorites artists and why?
I admire a lot of ceramist of my country; my teacher Alejandra Jones, Vilma Villaverde, Miguel Angel Bonino, as few examples. Their work is consistent with their way of living ceramics.
In the international field I like the Japanese ceramics,the pure and simple, kind of ethereal forms. But I must confess that, the book "The Agony and The Ecstasy", about Michelangelo , changed my life and I knew since then, that I wanted to become an artist.
What would your advice be to someone just starting with clay?
Be patient,learn as much as you can, listen, go to museums, galleries,think of yourself as an alchemist and experiment a lot!
What´s your favorite cuss word?
I curse a lot in Spanish. But sometimes , when I open the kiln the first word that comes to my mouth is in English....shit, shit, shit...
What´s your favorite quote?
The one I have on my Facebook profile
~Groucho Marx

Thank you Elizabeth, hearing of your family history adds another level to the meaning of your work and helps gain an understanding. Thank you for sharing and being a part of SoCalPotters.


m a i n o said...

Congratulations Chris about the journalistic note!!!
She's my friend, and her works are very deep as you said. The work reflects her soul and her feelings... and shows a sensation of projection in time.
Elizabeth congratulations! Your efforts are worth the pain

Chris McCormick said...

Thank you maino!

Patricia Griffin said...

Thanks Chris. This piece on Elizabeth Dychter was great. Thought-provoking work and interview.

Chris McCormick said...

Hi Patricia, thanks!

Linda Starr said...

Thanks Chris for introducing me to Elizabeth's work. I commend Elizabeth for being willing to show and present her personal feelings and family history in her ceramic work. It takes courage to reveal oneself openly to view.


her work is fabulous! where can I find it?