A Viewers Rorschach, with Kris Marubayashi : Clay Sculpture

The essence of clay itself gives soul and richness to the experience of Kris’ sculptures. Texture and form figure more prominently than any glaze. Unique colors arise as consequence of firing conditions, type and mixture of clay(s) or perlite. Fortuitous accident and artistic intent divine the final product. Looks are deceiving.     

A pair of columns regards each other, but lean back from touching stance. Are these lovers coming together or splitting apart? The uniform earthy brown and wider base imparts a sense of weight and solid foundation. Anthropomorphizing aside, the piece entitled “Mountain” is hollow and the split an exaggerated artifact of firing. 

Mountain

Mountain

From a distance, children of the Sixties might view the next Untitled Vessel, and conjure the nosecone of a space capsule. Stepping closer to the sculpture (and perhaps to Earth) reveals near perfect line, symmetry, and balance but topped with a jagged aperture, Zen with a touch of reality. The exterior is sooty black and relatively smoother.  Calderas prevail as a recurrent theme in Marubayashi's work.  

Untitled Vessel

Untitled Vessel

Flared Bowl

Flared Bowl

After mountains of clay with wide bases, it is startling to see the stark, Flared Bowl.  Matte black, paper thin, with wild irregular ripped edges, and precariously perched, the silhouette insinuates menace and tension. Still, there is a grace to the uplifted arc of the open bowl, like a flower reaching sunward despite the intrusion of hungry pests.

The artist’s favorite piece, “Wood Textured Sculpture,” pays homage to a sentimental journey in Chile and the possibilities of a too dry slab of clay that broke. Strips of the rough edges built up the semblance of a petrified tree trunk or rough-hewn stone.    

Wood Textured Sculpture

Wood Textured Sculpture

The inspiration for Marubayashi’s work derives from her father, an architect trained by Frank Lloyd Wright and from geology.  The drive comes from an earlier premise, “the act of creation [of art] is a statement to save people’s lives.”   

Photography courtesy of Kris Marubayashi.

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