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Kyla Toomey


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Within my work the grid is the most constant and persistent theme I employ. This is in part in deference to the grid’s constant and persistent place in human history. For me the grid is, first and foremost, an astonishingly efficient organizational system. Beyond its ability to function, it is visually striking: it engages the viewer, providing multiple points of entry where connections and references can be made if one chooses, or you can simply experience the pure visual space and the inherent lack of narrative. The grid’s existence spans the foundations of civilization, in the planning and mapping of cities to the structure of written language; it was iconic within Modern Art and is deeply entrenched within many craft histories and forms. I simultaneously draw from Modernism and Craft, creating a foundation in making objects that are charged with a sense of materiality and simplicity.

I believe in giving attention to details, examining and identifying minute differentiations. In variation resides possibility, and from that, a desire to exhaust all possibilities. I throw pots that are blanks made with the intention of alteration. From the alterations identity emerges. For me, exposing the subtlety of these distinctions has the potential to embed significant meaning into the repetitive actions and objects associated with production.

I find remarkable importance in objects. This significance manifests in my life as a need to have, move, and, most importantly, make objects. I love to shift all of the furniture in a room in an effort to recombine a constant set of objects—to fundamentally change what is inherently the same. In the studio, I am grounded in processes and formal investigation of functional forms with a very simple set of tools. These constraints provide me with a defined space to consider and control. Altering the vessel, dividing it in layers, manipulating the form by combining horizontal and vertical lines, hard against soft, wet with dry, and pushing and pulling to capture a sense of expansion and contraction within a singular object. Playing between these opposing forces and allowing them to reside together within an object integrates the visual and the tactile, activating surfaces that have a complex physicality, which then asks to be seen and felt. It appeals to my fascination with human interaction with materials and the systems we integrate with them to serve ourselves visually, physically, and functionally.