Andree Singer Thompson

Quicksilver Mine Lecture
Andrée Singer Thompson

Over the past 45 years of making art, I have had shows with symbolic statements. I have chosen to read some of these artists’ statements as a brief history and in relation to the works in this show. I am interested in the process of Survival, why some individuals, species or communities survive while others do not.

In 1975 I confronted impermanence with four family deaths. Using wet clay as a metaphor, and clay masks of family and friends, I made visceral art about mortality and the power of the now. We are always in the state transition, of becoming; we need to take the time to mourn that which is passing so that we are free to receive that which is being born.

One of the roles of an artist is to give form and clarity to unformed, often unconscious and sometimes uncomfortable material. Concsious confrontation can lead to creative awareness, dialogue and actions. Therein lies hope for positive solutions, healing and survival. In 1978, I went to Hungary in search of family survivors of the holocaust. Several years later, I had a show at the Judah Magnes Museum. While the original intent was to make a memorial to those who perished, it became more about those who have the courage to survive.

I work with performance, a variety of materials and firing techniques, and wet works in process, to xpress, unearth and magnify crucial moments of transition. By working with live performance and materials that change and disappear, I hope viewers will pay closer attention to the now.(Marty) Raku and wood firing processes are metaphors for the union of human artistic creation and nature, the elements of earth, water and fire. The finished works
are just byproducts reflecting physical firing results that occur during these collaborative transitions, leaving the textures, beautiful scars and memories of the fire and ash. In some Japanese pots, fire-scarred cracks are filled with real gold making them more valuable. So it is with our raku and wood-fired works as expressions of ourselves: we are more beautiful, more lovable, and more valuable because of our scars.

I have done site specific installations about community and environmental issues, usually including community participation. (Guillermo and kids) I work with children at risk, who often believe they are unlovable throwaways in a society that doesn’t care. I believe making beautiful and expressive artworks helps them discover and feel good about themselves, gives them voices to be heard, and is a process of self discovery that nurtures self-worth.

Witnessing the transformative power of artistic expression with students reinforces my belief in the relationship between creativity and healthy survival. I believe that we have an innate desire to heal; with compassion and creative intelligence, we have the power to reverse negative impacts with positive solutions and hope for healthy survival, both individually and communally. At a time when human life on earth is in danger, we all need to understand
the importance of creativity and the nature of the survival process.

home   |   projects   |   teaching   |   writings   |   bio   |   resume

All images on this website are copyrighted. For further information please contact the artist at: