Janine Antoni

Martha, 2013

Pit fired ceramic

7 x 16 inches (17.78 x 40.64 cm)

In Martha, the supporting hipbones are left to set in the extruded wet clay allowing the bowls to stand nestled midair, referencing a traditional Chinese Ding vessel. Inspired by the use of Ding vessels in cooking over fires, Antoni chooses to pit fire the vessels resulting in the distinctive outer surface that comes from the wood ash, smoke, and atmosphere of the firing process. This series contemplates nourishing from within and from without. The vessels are womb and bowl, encapsulating the internal and external simultaneously. 

The sculptures in Pelvic Vessels - Martha, Rosa, and Hearth - are inspired by the birthing process. While the pot is on the wheel and still wet, Antoni drags the inner edges of the hipbones around the bowl of the vessel to make its form. From a sculptural perspective, Antoni is fascinated by the negotiation between the pelvic bones of the mother and the head of the baby during the birthing process; both bodies are forever changed by this rite of passage.