Q & A with Kimberlee Roth – What We Have to Lose

Could you briefly explain your process for us?

The end goal is to have work with curvilinear edges and interiors having singular, or multiple, distinct concave sections. The outside edge of the work is drawn onto paper and then transferred to either Styrofoam or clay. The interior and sides are then carved. If the piece is clay, it is fired to cone 022. I then make a plaster multipart mold and use that to make the final slip cast porcelain forms.

How do the ideas and creation process start and how do you know when you’re done?

I look at a lot of artwork, keep up with current events and try to learn from what I think are successful art forms as to how their political and environmental issues are represented, distilled and communicated successfully. As an artist I’m never done; each previous installation supports the next and sparks more ideas.

What originally inspired you to bridge the gap between utilitarian ware and wall sculpture?

It evolved over a number of years. I initially wanted to move away from round forms made on the potter’s wheel and started slip casting. Slip casting naturally led to making a large number of the same form, and then it again came naturally to place the work into repetitive patterns. The negative spaces created between the pieces are quite lovely, so I experimented and played with making forms whose negative and positive spaces looked balanced and made an interesting composition.

Kimberlee Roth Studio 

Who are some of your major artistic influences?

Eva Zeisel and Richard Notkin

I noticed that you include some glaze recipes on your website. What tips might you have for people looking to experiment with creating their own original glaze recipes but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Go to the library and look at glaze books or look on-line for a glaze you like, and then make a 500 gram batch. Glaze a small cup and bowl with it. Test it in both oxidation and reduction. Then, take out the oxide colorant and see what the base glaze is like. If the base glaze seems promising, that is you like the way it feels or looks, then test the base with a variety of different oxides and percentages of oxides. An example would be to make a 200 gram batch and add 1% of an oxide, dip in a test tile, label it, then add another 1% for a 2% test, then another 2% for a 4% test, and then another 4% for an 8% test and see what the glaze looks like on these 4 test tiles. I’ve made hundreds of glaze tests, but the best glazes I have are from trying new oxide blends in tried and true base glazes.

 

What is your favorite part of the ceramic process?

Designing the forms and laying out the finished work into a pattern.

Could you tell us a bit about your educational experiences? What led you to originally pursue a science degree and then later pursue an art degree?

Everyone has choices to make throughout their life; each choice leads to a different path. I made a choice during high school to pursue a Math and Physics degree because it came easy to me and it was safe. I knew I would be able to get a teaching job after college and be secure and self-reliant as a single woman in the 1990s. But teaching high school became redundant and I needed to challenge myself. At first I was planning to get my PhD in Physics, but a few key choices and a hard look at what made me content and happy led me back to school for art. I always had the peace of mind that if things did not work out I had my Physics and Math degree to fall back on. I know I made the right choice because of how happy and challenged I am when I am in my studio.

Kimberlee Roth Studio

How does your math and science background come into play with your artwork?

My science and math training taught me perseverance to solve problems. I am used to getting things wrong the first few times and working through ideas to find a reasonable solution. I think to myself – we humans have created a variety of complex and amazing inventions, I can figure out how to solve this or that problem within my ceramics – it’s not as if I’m making a rocket to go to the moon or an integrated circuit from square one. Along with this tenacious attitude, my science background has taught me confidence and experimental skills, both of which I use while pushing the boundaries of the ceramics medium to its physical limitations and in glaze calculation. I consider my ceramics studio a chemistry and engineering lab.

Kimberlee Roth Studio

What else can you tell us about your exhibition What We Have To Lose that we might not get from your artist statement or simply by viewing the work?

It’s harder to make small turtles and snails then it is to make the larger tiles and top pieces. 🙂

 

What tips do you have for artists trying to minimize their environmental impact while still being able to effectively create work and get a message across?

Try not to use plastic, synthetic fabric or other materials refined from crude oil. Then use whatever is the best material to get your ideas across.

Kimberlee Roth Studio 

What is next for you?

I am developing new forms and glaze colors, and working simultaneously with another slip body. I also have ideas for other tile forms with incised imagery. I work best if I follow ideas down varying and multiple paths, keep experimenting and allow every kiln to be a sort of test.

Kimberlee Roth Studio

Questions by Gallery Assistant Katie Smith

 

What We Have to Lose – Exhibition Essay by Robert Silberman

Kimberlee Roth Ceramic TilesWhat We Have to Lose by Kimberlee Roth

Exhibition Essay by Robert Silberman

Robert Silberman is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses on the history of cinema and other subjects. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from Columbia University. He was senior advisor for the 1999 PBS series American Photography: A Century of Images and, with Vicki Goldberg, co-author of the companion volume. A regular contributor to the Burlington Magazine, he has curated exhibitions on art, photography, and ceramics, including six exhibitions at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, most recently Out of the Labyrinth: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics. The many ceramic artists he has written about include Warren MacKenzie, Gail Kendall, Ken Price, Amy Sabrina, and Randy Johnston.

 

Kimberlee Joy Roth – Artist Statement & Bio

Kimberlee Roth Ceramic Tiles

 

Artist Statement

A marriage of embellishment and utilitarian object is the inspiration behind my oeuvre: that is to create utilitarian non-traditionally shaped ceramic serving platters that maintain a curvilinear edge throughout the form and which reference historical decorative motifs. Today’s contemporary ceramics include figurative forms and abstract sculpture, utilitarian ware and architectural and decorative tile. My work is wall sculpture that is still functional; it can be used to also contain and serve food. Continue reading “Kimberlee Joy Roth – Artist Statement & Bio”

WHAT WE HAVE TO LOSE by Kimberlee Joy Roth

Roth

WHAT WE HAVE TO LOSE
Kimberlee Joy Roth

August 29 – October 27, 2016
Reception: September 16, 6-8 p.m.

Christensen Center Art Gallery

Artist Statement & Bio

In What We Have to Lose, Roth’s tessellated wall installation romanticizes the flora and very small fauna found in meticulously manicured gardens. Concerned with water availability and quality, pesticide use and the earth’s ecosystem, this large installation is Roth’s second solo exhibition to address awareness to the importance of unpolluted water.

Kimberlee Joy Roth is a fiscal year 2016 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Structures of Support: Augsburg

Structures of Support

August 18 – October 3, 2015 

Gage Family Art Gallery & Christensen Center Gallery 


Take the survey here: http://www.wearethethinktank.org/structures-of-support-survey/


Artist statement:
The Think Tank that has yet to be named is a social practice and artistic research studio. We initiate research, conversations, and actions that explore contemporary sociopolitical issues in the places where we encounter them. Whether physical sites, institutional structures, or social systems, we address these contexts as manifestations of models and metaphors that inescapably impact our lives. We draw on our experience with direct action, participatory design, action research, and community organizing to create generative spaces where strategic questions are invitations to others to consider their relationship to the places, structures, and systems which shape our individual and collective experiences of the world.

Bios:
Katie Hargrave is a multi-media artist interested in politics, history, mythology, and narrative. Her work elevates stories from popular culture, those hidden in the archives, and the everyday conversations from passersby and participants. http://katiehargrave.us
Jeremy Beaudry is a founding member of The Think Tank that has yet to be named. He works in and between the fields of socially-engaged art, design, and education, and has lectured and publicly presented projects in national and international venues. He is an Assistant Professor of Design and Director of the Master of Industrial Design Program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. http://meaning.boxwith.com

Meredith Warner is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia and is a founding member of the Think Tank that has yet to be named. With a background in community organizing and strategic nonviolence, her work is focused on community engagement and the design of tools for conversation.