Brittney Baldwin

Brittney Baldwin

Dave Cayton Memorial Scholarship

Dominick and Elizabeth Labino Art and Technology Award - Nominee

Description of Work

Time's Vanity - Porcelain - Not for sale

Artist's Statement

Time’s Vanity

 I am persistently intrigued by the inconsistent essence of organic forms, which has become one of the largest influences in my art making. I enjoy studying the daily complexities of nature that are often overlooked because we have become so accustomed to them. During these studies I find myself intrigued by the soft bend of flower petals, allowing them to hold droplets of dew. I am also captivated by time and how it presents itself through explosions of color, rotted wood, decay, and new growth. Studying my relationship with the outside world led me to clay, a substance that itself is organic. Analogous to my desire to interact with the world outside; I desire to touch, manipulate and create with the malleable substance in order to compose a relationship with the material. My understanding of the material allows me to render forms that communicate my interests lodged in beauty, elegance, time, and complexity.

            My inspiration has further developed while studying various movements in art history. The feminine curves, scrolling vines, and focus on ornamentation during the Art Nouveau movement combined with the regality associated with 17th century Dutch Modernism has pushed my work forward. Furthermore, I have developed an interest in the nuances of beauty in everyday routine. I find it fascinating how the vessels one uses to hold their devices of ornamentation become ritualistic to the user, capable of establishing the mood for their day while promoting self reflection. The psychology of a daily routine is quite extensive, and overall looked at as a positive addition to life. However, I find that the desire for beauty is often controversial, associating those who value it with terms such as vain, self-centered, and narcissistic.

            The work I make alludes to the ebb and flow of daily life, of ideas, and of people; as vessels that exist through time as humans cannot hope to. I use white porcelain, bisque fired to a very low temperature so that it remains soft and supple to the touch, allowing the observer to tactilely and visually experience delicate fragility. Ceramic dust, captured during the polishing process of creating these vessels is lain about the display to capture subtle movements, allowing the viewer a visual history of passed time. The mirrors unequivocally call for self contemplation while observing the ceramic objects and the implied reflection of oneself. Besides the inherent formal beauty of the decorative methods I use, the decoration techniques act as a very conscious reference to specific art historical epochs that reflect the realities of hand production, ornamentation, and the unique rituals of everyday life. Each vessel is then left void of glaze, to leave the origins of the pieces ambiguous, so that the viewer can connect personally to the thoughts and ideas represented in this body of work.

             As all aspects merge, I strive for my pieces to manifest familiarity within the viewer, providing a context that allows the viewer self reflection and a visual recording of passed time. Lastly, I seek to celebrate past and present ornamentation routines as I truly believe it is important to commemorate self worth, and to acknowledge pleasure in ornamentation. As explained in The Language of Ornament “Ornament stood not just for everything that made pleasure possible: the energy to see and care about one’s environment, and above all the assumption, shared if not always articulated by the whole society, that beauty should, and could, be part of people’s everyday lives.” (Trilling, James, p. 191)

If you wish to purchase any of these pieces, please contact the gallery director, Jacqueline Nathan (


Updated: 04/24/2020 07:00PM